It’s been some year since I took on the role of Managing Editor for Renewable Energy Focus. The highlight? When Faith Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, declared fossil fuel subsidies “public enemy number one”.
He was speaking at the European Wind Energy Association conference in Vienna earlier this year and as we reported in our March/April 2013 issue (page 26-29), he stressed: “Fossil fuel subsidies do not make sense.” In case any reader has forgotten, the IEA’s figures for subsidies paid out globally in 2011 are as follows: Fossil fuels – $523bn, Renewables – $88bn.
Birol also pointed out that the vast subsidies being paid to fossil fuels keep them artificially cheap. Unless phased out, we will not reach our climate targets, he explained, adding: “I hope governments pay attention to this”.
I fear not. Witness current energy policy announcements in the UK. Yes the Energy Bill has been published. Yes there is solid support for renewables again, albeit with scope for improvement to level up the playing field. But a 30% tax break (aka subsidies by any other name) to help the UK gas industry in its exploration of shale gas reserves?
Tax incentives for … click here to continue reading my final Editorial Leader for Renewable Energy Focus magazine and hear what I have to say about the UK Government’s plans for a 30% tax break for shale gas exploration and the potentially game-changing impact it could have.