We are now less than a year away from the next general election and the countdown to this important event has already begun in many quarters. We have certainly already started to see evidence of political campaigns filtering through; statements following the autumn party conferences about the impacts of energy policy on consumers bills are one such example.
In political parties there are a series of activities taking place in preparation for the election. During the early part of the year election strategists will have been hired and policy groups formed. At number ten a Policy Unit Chief will also have been hired. The budget statement on the 19 March was also politically significant because it covers spending plans in what could be the final year under the current government.
As the year progresses all parties will be busy drafting their manifestos and testing ideas ahead of the autumn party conferences and autumn statement. This will be followed in spring 2015 by final manifestos, campaign slogans and party leader debates in the final run up to Election Day on
7 May 2015.
So what does this mean for renewable energy industries and for biomass heating in particular? The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme is, as of April 2014, now fully launched. Tariff payments are now available in the domestic and non-domestic sectors for renewable heat produced. As well as supporting the UK to reach our renewable heating targets the RHI should also have a positive impact on the supply chain and cost curves of renewable heating technologies as uptake increases.
The current budget for the scheme runs until 2015/16 (tariff payments will remain in place for seven years from accreditation) and therefore the next government and the spring 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review are significant to the budget of the scheme beyond this date. Scheme review dates have been scheduled, starting with the non-domestic scheme review due this spring, and the output of these will be an important factor to the future shape of the scheme.
We will continue to closely monitor the political landscape during the coming year and provide any significant updates in manifestos and party messages via this blog.
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