UK Chancellor To Abolish Coalition’s Green Tax Target

George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, will give his first Tory Budget this weekGeorge Osborne, the UK Chancellor, will give his first Tory Budget this weekThe cost of subsidising new wind farms is spiralling out of control, government sources have privately warned. Officials admitted that so-called “green” energy schemes will require a staggering ¬£9 billion a year in subsidies ‚Äì paid for by customers ‚Äì by 2020. The Chancellor believes the figures demonstrate the need to rein in the cost of policies to tackle climate change. As a first step, he will use this week’s summer Budget to announce that he is abandoning targets set under the coalition to increase the level of environmental taxes in a move he hopes will save customers and businesses billions of pounds. –Tim Ross, The Sunday Telegraph, 5 July 2015

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) could be facing a 90 per cent cut in staff over the next few years, an environmental think tank has warned. The prediction has prompted politicians and academics to issue dire forecasts for Britain’s economic future, but the right-wing campaign group the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has offered an alternate solution to DECC’s impending staffing crisis: they suggest that the department be scrapped and its responsibilities handed over to another government department, saving ¬£billions each year. –Donna Rachel Edmunds, Breitbart News, 3 July 2015

Nigel Lawson, a former editor of The Spectator (amongst other things), has an intriguing idea in a letter to today’s FT: just break up the Department for Energy and Climate Change. It has done nothing to encourage the development of shale gas, which could keep Britain in energy for the next 100 years without the need to build another windmill.  Cameron believes in cutting the size of government. This could be a perfect place to start. ‚ÄìFraser Nelson, The Spectator, 8 February 2012

George Osborne has accused the BBC of being ‘imperial in its ambitions’ as he warned it faces huge cuts. The Chancellor launched a stinging attack yesterday on the Corporation’s well-funded website, saying it was creating unfair competition to the free press. Mr Osborne also said it was time for the BBC to contribute to money-saving efforts. He is expected to use Wednesday’s Budget to force the Corporation to meet the cost of free TV licences for the over-75s. This would cost the BBC ¬£650million ‚Äì around a fifth of its annual income. –Daniel Martin, Mail on Sunday, 5 July 2015

Plans to erect thousands of wind turbines across some of Britain’s most picturesque vistas have been thrown into disarray by a landmark High Court ruling. Cornwall County Council has been forced to accept it acted unlawfully when it gave the go-ahead for a 250ft eyesore near a beautiful stretch of coastline ‚Äì throwing doubt on about 4,000 other turbines it wants to erect. –Simon Trump, Mail on Sunday, 5 July 2015

The campaign to start a British fracking industry is to shift across the Pennines, with an application yesterday in North Yorkshire for the first of up to 50 wells. There is stronger local support for fracking in North Yorkshire, where the value placed on the economic benefits of new industries was demonstrated this week with the approval of the world’s biggest potash mine in the North York Moors National Park near Whitby. Lorraine Allanson, who runs a holiday cottages and bed and breakfast business four miles from Third Energy’s site, has established a campaign group to support fracking in the area. She said: “We are very proud of Yorkshire’s long history of producing energy for the nation. We are used to the gas industry in this area and it contributes to our rural economy. I have every faith that the Environment Agency will regulate fracking properly.” –Ben Webster, The Times, 4 July 2015

Last week’s decision on the future of the German energy policy by Sigmar Gabriel — the economics minister and Angela Merkel’s number two and would-be successor — was complicated and multifaceted. The net result, however, is simple. The German coal industry will survive and coal will remain a major,and probably the largest, fuel source for power generation for another decade and perhaps longer. –Nick Butler, Financial Times, 6 July 2015

The US wind and solar power industries face a fall in investment in 2017 after tax credits expire, their trade body has warned as it appeals to politicians for more financial support. Plunging costs for wind and solar power have made them increasingly competitive against fossil fuels, but the American Council on Renewable Energy argues that the fall in the price of natural gas caused by the US shale boom means they still need additional tax breaks. –Ed Crooks, Financial Times, 6 July 2015

US shale companies have increased the number of rigs in the field for the first time in nearly seven months when oil prices were trading around $70 per barrel, compared to under $60 per barrel in the current market. The number of rigs rose in almost every main shale basin across the US according to data gathered by Baker Hughes. Industry experts have suggested that as a result of last year’s price crash, shale exploration firms have cut their break even costs by anything up to $20 per barrel. A Bloomberg analyst suggested that the cost of drilling services have fallen between 20% and 50% with break even prices in parts of the Permian and Eagle Ford below $40 per barrel. –James Perkins, Shale Energy Insider, 3 July 2015