A poll commissioned by electric utility company, Community Windpower Ltd showed that 41% of the nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults disagreed with the proposed Electricity Generator Levy (EGL).
In last year’s Autumn Statement chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed plans to implement a 45% levy – the EGL – for “extraordinary returns” of companies generating low-carbon electricity, including those using nuclear or renewable sources.
This is 10% higher than the Energy Profits Levy imposed on oil and gas companies, which was raised to 35% as part of the Autumn statement.
Conducted by polling firm Censuswide, the study showed that respondents disagreed with the taxation of profits solely targeting green energy by a factor of close to five to one.
“This poll confirms what we suspected all along, namely that there is significant public disquiet over the controversial Energy Generator Levy and its smash and grab raid on renewables,” said Rod Wood, managing director of Community Windpower.
“The levy is bad news for consumers, bad news for the climate and bad news for our national energy security.”
The poll also showed significant public backing for green energy with 49% of respondents saying they support renewables.
Strong support was also demonstrated for the local distribution of energy profits to help households struggling with energy bills, as 50% of the respondents agreed with the implementation of these schemes.
Community Windpower has said that it is launching the first such scheme this winter in East Lothian. According to the company, the East Lothian Energy Fund has already distributed over £150,000 of the £1 million total amount.
When asked about the UK Government’s approach to renewable energy and climate change the poll illustrated public concern. 45% of respondents agreed the government is “too close” to large oil and gas companies, whilst 41% didn’t feel that ministers are doing enough to support renewable energy.
“This polling shows that voters find it bizarre that the Government is bringing in a levy that will deliberately penalise renewable energy firms. This comes at a time when over half of Britain’s electricity demand is being met by low carbon power, saving consumers an estimated £5.7 billion in the last quarter by avoiding the need for gas imports,” continued Wood.
“With this policy, the Government is putting at risk the UK’s renewables industry. It is jeopardising £200 – £300 billion of new investment and the 440,000 well paid jobs that the Government itself had previously forecast to be delivered by 2030. Investors will simply look to other countries if this policy is not substantially reversed.”
Community Windpower has warned ministers that it will sue in a bid to block the progression of the EGL, which came into force 1 January 2023.