22/11/2017

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, unveiled the Autumn 2017 Budget on Wednesday 22nd November and was expected to answer a number of key policy questions concerning smart energy and sustainability.

So, what was the fallout from his speech?


Budget 2017: key announcements

Industrial Strategy

Hammond announced that Business, Environment & Industrial Strategy Secretary Greg Clark would unveil a white paper on the UK's Industrial Strategy on Monday 27th November, as part of the Government's "vision for a fairer Britain".

The white paper could include further policy detail on the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy and its promise of an Industrial Energy Efficiency Scheme.

*Update: The Industrial Strategy has now been published. Read our review here.*

Also: Read our blog on the Clean Growth Strategy, and how it could impact businesses as we transition into a low-carbon society.

Electric Vehicles

An investment of £400m was pledged to boost the national network of EV charging infrastructure, while it was also announced that there would be no tax imposed on workplace EV charging.

It was also announced that from April 2018, the first-year tax rate for diesel cars that fail to meet the latest standards will go up by one band – further positive news from a sustainability perspective.

EVs are set to play a major part in the decarbonisation of transport, and the transformation of our energy system through their role in the smart grids of the future. Take a look at our blog on the subject.

Research & Development

The Chancellor announced £2.3bn of investment in R&D, including innovation of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). Like EVs, AI has a potentially pivotal role to in the future low-carbon economy.

Read our piece on how new technologies such as AI and smart metering are set to transform the energy sector.

What was notable by its absence?

Though Hammond’s budget announcement provided some good news on the smart energy and sustainability front, there was inevitably some disappointment as other important issues that were left out.

£44bn was set aside for capital funding to help build 300,000 homes annually by 2020, as well as a £2.7bn housing infrastructure fund, however, there was no mention of action to boost the energy efficiency of new or existing buildings.

Despite being alluded to with the announcements on EVs and investment in technology, there was also no mention of the smart energy system in general, for instance, the government’s plans for supporting greater power network flexibility through the likes of demand-side response and energy storage.

Renewable energy also missed out on the policy support that some might have expected, with no word on tax benefits for solar energy to encourage greater solar take-up, while onshore wind again missed out on support after having its subsidies dropped.


Achieving a smarter energy system

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