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Budget 2009 REACTION: Renewables industry welcomes 'carbon budget'

The UK renewables industry has welcomed the 2009 Budget, claiming the newly announced measures address “the short-term economic hurdles” faced by the sector.

Chancellor Alistair Darling yesterday announced a range of “green” proposals, including £525 million to support off-shore wind. He described the 2009 Budget as the “world’s first carbon budget”.

The British Wind Energy Association’s chairman Adam Bruce said: “This package of measures deserves a welcome from our industry, and is in line with proposals that we have been working through with government. It addresses the short-term economic hurdles we faced due to the fall of the pound against the Euro, and the post-Lehman collapse in project finance.

“It also restates the Government’s long-term commitment to the renewable energy sector, and should enable us to unlock up to £10 billion of private sector investment in wind and marine energy projects over the coming few years.”

The collapse in bank lending has meant wind schemes currently seeking finance face potential delays, particularly those being developed by independent power companies that have historically relied on project finance to bring wind farms into operation.

Under an arrangement with the European Investment Bank, up to £4 billion could be made available for UK renewable schemes which cannot find project finance.

About £405 million was also earmarked for other low carbon energy technologies, including wave and tidal devices.

Chair of the Government’s renewables advisory board and outgoing chair of BWEA’s marine strategy group Alan Moore said: “The funding for low carbon technologies development and deployment is a very promising and much needed budget decision.

“The wave and tidal industry has been fighting for support over the past years and only through determined efforts has made steady progress and established the UK as the world leader in this field. With this boost we should see the UK speeding the progress towards exploiting our massive indigenous wave and tidal energy potential.”