Low carbon strategies – but are they too little, too late?
The UK Government is launching a raft of strategies today: Low Carbon Transition Plan, a Renewable Energy Strategy and the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy. I’ll be reviewing them and posting a summary later in the week.
In the meantime, wind turbine manufacturer Vesta is closing its UK plant to concentrate production in China, Denmark and Germany (the latter two having feed-in legislation for renewable energy). The Government claims that the UK will have a booming low carbon sector look a bit flimsy if they’re going to let this happen. Yesterday I interviewed Roy Stanley, Chairman of the Tanfield Group which owns the world’s oldest electric vehicle manufacturer, Smith’s (first model 1935, would you believe?). What struck me about our conversation was how a relatively modest increase in orders would drive down the supply chain costs very quickly and make the vehicles much more competitive on capital costs (they are cheaper on through life costs already). Tax breaks and public sector procurement could make this happen very quickly and create a snowball effect.
So, I’d like to see a bit less strategy and quite a lot more action. Tax breaks, public procurement and feed-in legislation would go a long way to creating sustainable markets for the low carbon industry and then we’d see a boom. We shall wait and see…