Business and energy secretary Greg Clark has failed to guarantee that intensive energy users will be made exempt from paying renewable energy levies attached to bills when the existing compensation scheme expires next year.
Clark was quizzed by Labour MP Stephen Kinnock during yesterday’s business, energy and industrial strategy oral and topical questions session in the House of Commons over the issue.
Referencing the upcoming expiry of the compensation scheme, he asked the secretary of state if he could assure energy-intensive industries that a more final exemption – as promised in April this year – would be put into place prior to that date.
However Clark would not be moved onto confirming that specific detail, instead only stating that the government’s “commitment is to work with the sector bring [energy costs] down”.
It followed a similar response to a question raised by Conservative MP Graham Evans, who asked what consideration the government had given to energy price competitiveness for the likes of INEOS, Tata and other chemical companies in comparison to their Europe-based counterparts.
“…energy prices that are paid by businesses generally, and by energy-intensive industries in particular, are a crucial part of competitiveness, and we want to work with these industries to reduce the costs,” Clark said in response.
While the industry might be buoyed by Clark’s insistence that government is prepared to work with it to reduce energy costs, the possibility that – for a period at least – EIIs could be open to paying the full costs associated with the feed-in tariff and Renewables Obligation schemes will not be well received.
When it was proposed earlier this year it was expected that qualifying EIIs would save around £390 million each year through the exemption.