Energy firms in the UK could miss out on access to a €10bn (£8.5bn) fund for innovative renewable energy projects launched by the European Commission if Britain leaves the European Union (EU).
The fund will support a range of projects, including renewable energy generation, carbon capture and storage, energy storage and production of low-carbon cement for concrete.
The European Commission will launch the first calls for proposals in 2020, a year after the United Kingdom is expected to have left the European Union.
British firms were able to apply to the innovation fund’s predecessor, a scheme called the NER300. The Stroma Tidal Turbine Array, which forms part of the 398MW MeyGen tidal development in the Orkney Island received £16M in support from the NER300 in 2016.
Source: Meygen, Atlantis Energy
But uncertainty about UK’s exit from the EU means it s hard to determine the exact terms of eligibility for the new fund.
“Our objective is to keep building a modern, competitive and socially fair Paris-aligned economy for all Europeans,” said European climate action and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete. “For this to happen, we will need deployment of clean innovative technologies on an industrial scale,” .
The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS) has set up various innovation schemes that UK firms can apply to for innovation support. BEIS has committed £2.5bn to low carbon innovation in the UK up to 2021, and recently announced the next contract for difference auction, in which firms can bid for renewable energy contracts.
A BEIS spokesperson said: “The UK is a world leader in renewables, and in November the government announced a budget of £60M for the next clean electricity auction. The fall in costs of renewable electricity means that we are confident in securing more generation than the last auction at a lower cost for consumers.”
ScottishPower has also announced its single biggest investment. It plans to spend £2bn on the UK’s renewable energy sector, with spending including a 1GW pipeline of onshore wind projects by 2025.
ScottishPower chief executive officer Keith Anderson said uncertainty means the UK must focus on its energy strategy.
“In a time of uncertainty, the UK needs to deliver its industrial and energy strategy and that’s what we’re providing with our biggest ever investment in a single year,” he said.
“Consumers want and need access to reliable, clean and affordable energy. That is what ScottishPower is focused on delivering and as long as government climate change commitments stay firm, with sensible policies to support them, this investment will continue.”
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