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Budget 2020: Carbon capture given £800 million boost as renewables sidestepped

£800 million is to go towards CCS, with at least two UK sites to be established.

£800 million is to go towards CCS, with at least two UK sites to be established.

Funding boosts for carbon capture and storage (CCS), electric vehicles (EVs) and nuclear announced, as renewables are once again absent from the UK's Budget.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered the Budget today (11 March 2020), with pledges for the green economy almost a footnote in the Red Book.

CCS is to receive an injection of cash in the form of a new CCS Infrastructure Fund of a least £800 million designed to establish CCS in at least two UK sites – one by the mid-2020s and one by 2030.

The previously announced promise of £500 million for EVs took centre stage within transport funding. More detail than previously known was released, including the creation of a Rapid Charging Fund as part of this to help businesses with the cost of connecting charge points to the electricity grid as well as a comprehensive EV charging infrastructure review, to be conducted by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

The plug-in car grant is also to be extended to 2022-23, with an extra £403 million provided.

For research and development (R&D), the Budget committed to at least doubling the size of the Energy Innovation Programme to help meet the challenge of net zero and ensure the UK is at the forefront of new decarbonisation technologies, Sunak said.

Government will also invest over £900 million to ensure UK businesses are leading the way in high-potential technologies, which includes commercialising nuclear fusion technology, along with supporting the National Space Strategy and space innovation fund.

A portion of this funding will also contribute to a wider investment of up to £1 billion to develop UK supply chains for the large-scale production of EVs, which was announced last September.

Additionally announced today was the launch of a fundamental review of business rates, with a call for evidence will be published in the spring that will be followed by a report in the autumn. This was welcomed by Chris Hewett, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, who described business rates as “the main barrier to the deployment of large rooftop PV”.

However, there were no new announcements for renewable generation such as wind or solar, as well as an absence of energy storage.

In his speech in the House of Commons, Sunak said this was a budget “about delivering promises” and one of a government “that gets things done”.

More to follow. . .

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