Britain to announce energy security measures by month-end

Solar farm near Melksham in southwest Britain
Electricity pylons and a solar farm are seen near Melksham in southwest Britain, March 2, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - British government measures to support energy security will be announced later in March, a budget document said on Wednesday without mention of any fresh incentives for oil and gas or renewable energy producers.

Oil and gas producers had called for floor prices to be applied to a windfall tax imposed last year and renewable power companies wanted better investment incentives, but finance minister Jeremy Hunt's spring budget included no such actions.

"In addition to the measures in the spring budget, the government will set out further action later this month to ensure energy security in the UK and meet our net zero commitments," the government said in a budget document.

Both the oil and gas and renewables industries will watch for any updates to how the Energy Profits Levy (EPL) tax applied to the former and the Electricity Generator Levy (EGL) applied to the latter might change.

"The Government has repeatedly ignored warnings from the renewable sector as it bulldozes through its tax raid on green electricity generators," said Rod Wood, managing director at wind energy developer Community Wind Power.

"In the face of this draconian cash grab – which simply makes new investment unviable - there is a real possibility that the entire UK onshore wind and solar industry shuts up shop and is forced to move to Europe or United States."

Wednesday's budget included some incentives for nuclear power and carbon capture and storage projects.

"While we welcome the support for decarbonisation and carbon capture and storage, the UK risks becoming a hostile environment for wider investment in domestic offshore energy," said David Whitehouse, head of the OEUK oil and gas industry association.

"We are disappointed that it has not removed obstacles for offshore energy firms and the homegrown oil and gas producers."

Reporting by Shadia Nasralla and Susanna Twidale Editing by David Goodman, Kirsten Donovan

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