One of the more bizarre points of Osborne's budget is that renewable energy generation technologies will be subject to the Climate Change Levy. Given that the levy is meant to be one of the clumsy, kludgy, ways in which the UK begins to have a carbon tax this is pretty odd really. And as Guido points out, the boosters of renewables are having conniption fits:
Caroline Lucas: “We’ve seen yet another example of reckless short-term policy making that prioritises the profits of polluters over the public interest in a safe and habitable climate”
RenewableUK: “It’s another example of this government’s unfair, illogical and obsessive attacks on renewables”
Greenpeace: “This will make it more expensive for business to buy electricity from renewable power. He is man out of step with the times”
Friends of the Earth: “This is totally bizarre, making renewable electricity pay a carbon tax is completely counterproductive — like making apple juice pay an alcohol tax”
Friends of the Earth does have it right there: non-carbon energy generation shouldn't be paying a carbon tax, that's rather the point of it all.
Except, except, the nuclear industry has been subject to the Climate Change Levy all along. And there are no "no carbon" technologies at all, there's always some emissions, from cement for windmill footings, the energy to purify silicon, the rotting of vegetation at the bottom of a reservoir behind a dam. And nuclear has rather lower emissions than some of those forms of generation.
Which is where the biter is bit of course. They all were perfectly happy that the low carbon system, nuclear, that they didn't approve of had to pay the levy. Now that the hunger of a Chancellor for revenue is coming for them they don't really have a logical point to stand on.
Oh dear, boo hoo, eh?