Renewables corporations warn UK income cap may deter funding

ByLouise McGinnis

Oct 10, 2022

Renewable power corporations will inform UK ministers this week {that a} deliberate cap on the revenues they generate from sky-high wholesale energy costs should not be extra punitive than the same EU coverage — or they threat an funding exodus to Europe.

The UK authorities is drawing up plans for a short lived income cap, just like one already outlined by the European Union as a part of efforts to decrease wholesale power costs, which carefully observe these of gasoline and have surged since Russia’s full-blown invasion of Ukraine. Laws, which might be wanted to institute a cap, is predicted as early as this week.

Vitality business officers concerned in discussions with the UK authorities say negotiations over the extent of a cap will proceed this week, with a gathering anticipated as early as Monday. The proposals may have an effect on corporations together with EDF Vitality, RWE, Octopus Vitality, ScottishPower and SSE.

Renewable power corporations warn {that a} UK income cap should not be set so low that it stifles funding in low-carbon applied sciences equivalent to wind and photo voltaic, which will likely be wanted to succeed in the nation’s 2050 internet zero emissions goal.

“It ought to at the very least be carefully aligned with [that of] the EU,” stated one individual with data of the discussions. In any other case, ministers risked “spooking buyers” and sending a sign that Britain was a extra hostile location to put money into than continental Europe, the individual added.

One other individual concerned within the discussions added that not all corporations “would care concerning the cap if it was at a [relatively] excessive worth”.

Beneath the EU’s plans, non-gas turbines need to pay member states the “extra earnings” they generate past a threshold of €180 per megawatt hour.

Vitality corporations say the UK authorities’s proposals successfully quantity to a windfall tax — one thing prime minister Liz Truss has stated she is ideologically against, despite the fact that she has maintained a further 25 per cent “power earnings levy” on oil and gasoline producers launched by the previous chancellor Rishi Sunak in Could.

House owners of low-carbon schemes equivalent to onshore wind and photo voltaic farms have made specifically massive earnings from the spike in electrical energy costs since Russia launched its conflict in Ukraine as a result of they obtain state subsidies on high of wholesale charges beneath a legacy “renewables obligation certificates” scheme that dates again 20 years.

Newer applied sciences equivalent to offshore wind are ruled by a unique system often known as “contracts for distinction” that already limits the worth they obtain for his or her output, though agreements cowl lower than 20 per cent of complete renewables capability in Britain.

In a gathering between the UK authorities and electrical energy turbines on the finish of September, officers stated that they had been contemplating quite a few attainable benchmarks for setting a worth cap, equivalent to wholesale energy costs earlier than the power disaster.

A worth of £50-£60 per megawatt hour was talked about as a place to begin for negotiations though officers have since privately indicated that the ultimate worth can be considerably greater. No ultimate determination on the extent of the cap has been taken.

The cap is more likely to be imposed via power laws set to be printed as early as this week which will even underpin Truss’s £30bn assist scheme to assist companies with power payments for the following six months.