Sunday, 23 August 2009

Scots firms fail to implement green regulations

Majority of firms surveyed have no plans to invest to reduce environmental impact
SMALL and medium-size businesses in Scotland are “in denial” about green rules, global warming and their impact on the environment, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).
Four out of 10 of the 7,000 firms surveyed by Sepa failed to recognise green regulations relevant to their businesses — a lower proportion of firms than the agency’s last survey recorded in 2007.
Just 7% of businesses acknowledged they undertook activities which harmed the environment; when respondents were probed the figure was six times higher at 46%.
Only 27% of respondents intended to invest to reduce their environmental impact. Despite government efforts to improve Scottish business’s green credentials through environmental management systems, the survey found that the number of organisations using them had fallen by three quarters.
Most respondents said an the systems were “no use” to their business, despite evidence that those with green credentials are more likely to win new business.
The proportion of small and medium enterprises acting to save energy and water, however, has doubled over the past two years, and 77% are today recycling waste, up from 58% in 2007. The figure still lags behind the UK average.
Claudette Hudes, of NetRegs, the government website that carried out the survey for Sepa, said: “This survey shows a level of denial. ” She suggested declining enthusiasm for green measures may be due to the recession.

Boris Johnson takes to the hydrogen highway

David Leppard
Boris Johnson is to help create Britain’s first “hydrogen highway”, using a scheme to promote zero-emission cars modelled on one introduced in California by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state’s governor.
The mayor of London wants to make Britain a leader in fuel cell technology and is planning a network of hydrogen filling stations in the capital. He intends to assemble a pilot fleet of about 150 hydrogen cars in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics, together with five buses and 20 black taxis.
Johnson’s officials believe that by 2029 as many as one in three of the 31m cars in Britain could be fuelled by hydrogen. Britain has agreed to cut its CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.
Johnson said the hydrogen network would be developed alongside government plans to introduce electric cars.
“Harnessing low-carbon technology is key to solving the pressing issues of energy security, cutting climate change emissions and improving air quality,” said Johnson. “With electric vehicles gearing up to become a mainstream choice in a few years’ time, we are creating the right conditions for them to flourish.”
In April, Gordon Brown announced plans to subsidise electric-car use. Johnson followed up by unveiling a scheme for 25,000 “juice points” — charging stops for electric cars across London.
“We think it’s going to be pretty big,” said Kit Malthouse, deputy London mayor and chairman of the London Hydrogen Board, the group overseeing the project, who added: “We plan an initial network of six or so hydrogen fuelling stations around the capital. We would then be able to fuel the next generation of vehicles.”

Eco-homes give new life to Welsh mining village

Victorian pit terraces reborn in community devastated by closure of local colliery
Amelia Hill, social affairs correspondent
The Observer, Sunday 23 August 2009
The coal on which the village was founded has long gone, but the community of Penrhiwceiber in south Wales is determined not to lose its identity completely.
A row of Victorian terraced houses, built for miners' families 150 years ago from locally quarried stone and grey slate, is undergoing a nine-month modernisation programme which will leave the facades untouched while the insides are transformed into cutting-edge eco-homes.
"These homes were designed to house a close, neighbourly community, where miners' wives would gossip with neighbours on the doorstep and the only big room was the front room, which was kept posh and only used for funerals," said Andrew Baker of the Cardiff-based firm overseeing the project, Rio Architects.
"But they were built in the style of the time. The rooms are so dark that you have to keep lights on all day and the ventilation is so poor that there are serious problems with damp," he added.
"The heat flows out of the houses in great waves and the cold air gushes in because the insulation is so poor and the windows so ill-fitting."
Solid-wall terrace housing is one of the biggest challenges to councils and communities trying to improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock, said Margaret Minhinnick, director of Sustainability Wales. "This project, if successful, will show an exciting way forward that we expect will be taken up across Britain as a whole," she said.
"We are going to transform these Victorian terraces into modern, light, spacious, energy-efficient homes," said Baker. "They are going to be gutted, redesigned and reconfigured to make the maximum use of space and light."
Where once there were outside toilets and doors opening on to the street, the houses will boast balconies and open-plan extensions. The small windows will be expanded to afford full views of the landscape.
"These are going to be both amazingly energy-efficient houses and very beautiful as well," said Baker. "We will install solar panels [to heat] domestic water, insulate all internal walls, replace all electrical plumbing and put energy-saving devices into every room."

We believed Obama was going to tackle climate change. It isn't that easy

Barack Obama might be the most powerful man in the world, but he faces tough opposition from all sides over climate-change legislation
Eric Roston
The Observer, Sunday 23 August 2009
Al Gore made a surprise appearance on the sketch comedy programme Saturday Night Live in May 2006, to offer an alternative-universe United States, one in which he'd become president after the 2000 election fiasco. Global warming was so soundly defeated that glaciers stood poised to attack Michigan and Maine. All Americans enjoyed free health care. The rest of the world held the US in such high esteem that Americans were afraid to travel to Europe for fear of being hugged too much.
By January of this year, many believed that this liberal fantasy had become liberal promise. A slight and handsome man, with ears sensitive to 300 million disparate voices, had appeared. President-elect Barack Obama reminded Americans in his weekly address of the impossible hand history had dealt him, the two wars, the economic crisis, the health care crisis, the climate crisis.
Remarkably, things that Obama said in those pre-inaugural weekly addresses would have been –no, were! – sketch comedy just two years before. An alternative universe had set upon us, vividly evidenced by the 200,000 Germans prepared to embrace a US presidential candidate in Berlin last summer. Climate change and health care might not have been licked just yet, but they'd better watch out.
Eight months into Obama's presidency, foreign observers might be forgiven for asking why haven't all those winged words lifted US climate policy from its rut? The man who admonished Americans: "We can't fall into the old Washington habit of throwing money at the problem" has run into old Washington habits.
Here's the story to date. Obama and his team built a compelling narrative in the campaign. There was so much bad news last year and so many intractable problems that everything was beginning to dovetail. A big story was coming together; all of our crises – Wall Street, "Main Street," climate, health care – were all entwined. The solutions must be, too. Climate change requires a new kind of economy, powered by the sun, wind and emissions-free coal-burning. A new economy requires a rationalised healthcare system, free of waste and poor judgment. A campaign is monologic. The problem, once you live in the White House, is other people who were elected to Washington and enjoy the standing they've earned. They would like to keep their jobs but might not be able to if they rubber-stamped all a president's solutions.
The Democrats have already achieved an impressive and perhaps unlikely victory. It's easy to forget in the noise. Climate change emerged as a national story this spring, when a powerful House of Representatives committee produced a "cap-and-trade" bill. The White House played a quieter role than many supporters envisioned, given the hoopla surrounding Obama's advisory "dream team," which includes former Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner as climate tsar, Nobel laureate Steven Chu at the Department of Energy and Harvard global change expert John Holdren as chief science adviser.
One school argued that the White House so thoroughly trusted veteran Democrat Henry Waxman to lead the charge that they outsourced all the work to him. Another school sensed equivocation in a White House that didn't want to waste precious political capital on a doomed climate bill. After all, climate change is easy to construe as a lose-lose proposition. As retired General Anthony C Zinni recently told the New York Times: "We will pay for this one way or another… we will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today and we'll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms and that will involve human lives."
It's difficult to say at this moment which climate negotiation faces greater obstacles – that in the US Senate or the multilateral talks in Copenhagen in December. The easiest move for the new administration was to show the world a new face. The pace of meetings has been accelerating for months. A recent feelgood US-China summit in Washington brought out Obama's climate-hawk rhetoric. Hillary Clinton and other senior officials have logged many air miles but little substantive progress.
The structure of the US Senate makes the passage of complex legislation difficult. We live in the age of the sanitised filibuster. One hundred senators have the power to halt legislation. Climate change is more than a partisan issue. It is a regional issue. Democratic senators from Midwestern states whose utilities burn coal for electricity fear their constituents will see higher energy bills if carbon dioxide emissions have a price. Manufacturing states fear that their jobs will depart for nations who have no climate policy.
Earlier this month, 10 Democrats sent Obama a letter saying that they would not vote for a bill that failed to adequately protect their states. Without their votes, the bill is unlikely to succeed.
The complexity of the healthcare debate is dampening appetites for the potentially more complex climate bill. International climate experts in Washington have been wondering for months how US healthcare woes, as they affect the senate climate debate, may affect the December UN-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen. Part of the problem lies in the White House's poor shepherding of the issue. Another part clearly lies in the impoverished US civic discourse. Lately it feels like all you have to do to get on national television or, more important, on everyone's Facebook feeds, is compare Obama to Hitler or call him the Great Socialist.
Last week in Houston, 3,500 people, many of them energy industry workers, attended an anti-climate bill programme. More are expected in 19 states in coming weeks. This atmosphere does not tolerate complexity. Yet everything about climate change, from science to policy, resists simplification.
The real paradox comes when you step back from Washington and see that vast swaths of the economy are ready and, in key cases, advocating a US climate policy. Microsoft and General Motors are in the UK's CBI and party to its climate change positions. Even if this should turn out not to be the year, sooner or later the feeling of inevitability in the economy that the US will have a price on carbon will intersect with the US actually having a price on carbon.
The president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. But when it comes to moving transformative legislation through a divided Congress that is not always true. Both politics and the structure of the US government itself conspire to make this so. Great presidential achievements require more than a vision of a better, alternative universe, more than hard work, and more than the US Treasury's chequebook – they require most everybody else in town.
Eric Roston is author of The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilisation's Greatest Threat. He writes for the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, in Washington, DC

Carbon targets may be too tough, says John Prescott

Emissions plan may have to be watered down to reach a deal, claims former deputy prime minister
Gaby Hinsliff
The Observer, Sunday 23 August 2009
Targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions may have to be watered down to get a deal at the critical Copenhagen climate summit, the former deputy prime minister John Prescott warns today.
Prescott, who brokered the Kyoto deal on climate change a decade ago and is heavily involved in the current negotiations, risked the wrath of green campaigners by saying it was time for a "plan B" if agreement could not be reached between the main parties.
That could involve accepting a longer timetable for cuts in carbon emissions that are supposed to be achieved by 2020 and then by 2050, he suggested, arguing that it was more important to get a deal "on the principles" of how high-carbon lifestyles are tackled worldwide.
"I am saying you had better start preparing in your minds for plan B as well as plan A," he said. "A lot of people fear that if you moved away from those targets you would get the NGOs screaming and shouting, 'you have sold out', but I had to ignore them to get the deal at Kyoto."
He explained that if it were not possible to "dot the i's and cross the t's" of targets, then the summit could agree to flesh out the details later so long as the principles of a deal to shift towards low-carbon lifestyles were clear. He insisted that common ground could be found despite resistance to targets among developing countries, but there could be "conflict" over the timetable, adding: "We might not be able to get it by 2020 or by 2050 but [we should] agree the principles."
Prescott, who remains an envoy on climate change for the Council of Europe, has been shuttling between Washington and China talking to key players in the negotiations. This week he will launch a new website,, designed to promote the idea of a fairer settlement on climate change for developing countries and to encourage the public to lobby politicians. He will follow it up with a tour of schools in the autumn.
He supports the idea of targets based on emissions per head, rather than per government – which would be easier for highly populous but relatively underdeveloped countries such as China and India to meet, but tougher on the US – arguing that "social justice" needs to be built into the deal.
Prescott, who has become an unlikely star of the blogosphere, hopes to use his mastery of social media to galvanise public support for a global warming deal. He has already used Facebook to build a campaign to curb bankers' bonuses and last week used Twitter to torment the Conservatives over MEP Daniel Hannan's outbursts against the NHS.
Asked what he was doing personally to reduce his carbon emissions, he said he was considering solar panels for his roof and a home wind turbine.

Objectors to wind farms to be bought off

A scheme to reward local people is being considered

Tricia Holly Davis
Planning problems are holding up wind farms with twice the power output of those already installed
Ministers are considering whether to establish a “conservation bank” to help overcome planning objections to wind farms and other renewable-energy projects.
Planning problems have held back British onshore wind farms. Vestas blamed nimby (not in my back yard) objections for its recent decision to shut Britain’s only wind-turbine plant, on the Isle of Wight (see panel below).
Vestas and other energy groups say planning delays and uncertainties make it riskier to invest in Britain than in other countries, where planning approval can take half the time and there are more lucrative incentives for developers.
Now ministers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs think they might have found a way to speed up the system.
The concept is called “conservation banking”. Companies developing clean energy could offset the impact of their projects by financing local environmental programmes, such as improving wildlife habitats. Huw Irranca-Davies, minister for marine and natural environment, said this could help to fast track renewable projects through the planning system.
“The idea of conservation banking is to give businesses greater clarity and speed up the development of infrastructure projects, such as wind farms, that would otherwise suffer long delays or get rejected,” said Irranca-Davies.
The concept holds huge potential for the onshore wind market, which has faced constant planning problems. Where other forms of energy generation — coal, gas, nuclear and offshore wind — look to national governments for consent, onshore wind projects must seek planning approval from local councils.
This means there are a lot of inconsistencies in the process. Whether projects get approved depends as much on the opinion of local residents as it does on the environmental impact.There is more than twice as much onshore wind capacity stuck in planning as there is in operation (see illustration).
This does not bode well for Britain’s climate targets. Renewable power now represents about 5% of total electricity generation. This needs to triple over the next decade if the UK is to meet its legally binding pledge to cut emissions by 34% within that time. As wind power is expected to represent the lion’s share of our clean energy, it is crucial that the government sorts out the planning barriers that stop onshore wind farms being built.
Opponents of wind turbines think the idea of a conservation bank has some merit. Steve Bazeley of the community lobby group Residents Against Turbines (Rats) is cautiously enthusiastic.
Earlier this year Rats blocked Scottish Power from expanding its onshore wind capacity in Cornwall on the grounds that the turbines would blemish the village landscape and cause noise pollution. But Bazeley said residents might have been persuaded to swallow some of their objections for the right price.
“People respond to financial incentives so, if there’s a way for the local community to earn money from conservation banking, then it might help get more projects approved.”
Conservation banking has been a success in America and Australia.
The scheme works in a similar way to Britain’s carbon emissions trading mechanism. Project developers offset their environmental impact by purchasing conservation “credits” from either conservation banks or private individuals. In exchange, the sellers guarantee the creation of a new habitat or some other biodiversity programme.
Anyone — be it a private company, local authority or individual — can create credits to sell to developers so long as they have land suitable for a conservation project, said Kerry Ten Kate, an independent consultant who is advising the government on how conservation banking could work here.
For example, in Victoria, Australia, most of the credit suppliers are individual landowners, such as farmers. They generate offsets, which they sell to developers, who in turn agree to improve the management of the vegetation on the land. The money paid by the developer goes to the landowner over 10 years as the gains are established.
The British government will issue a formal consultation on conservation banking later this year to get feedback from environmental lobby groups and businesses.
Turbines chief attacks planning system
Nowhere are the problems of Britain’s planning system more evident than in wind energy. The UK is breezier than any country in Europe yet we are squandering an opportunity to develop clean domestic energy, writes Danny Fortson.
Ditlev Engel is the boss of Vestas, the world’s largest turbine maker, which was criticised recently for closing its only UK plant, on the Isle of Wight. The move led to the loss of some 600 jobs.
Engel said the closure was caused by the difficulty in securing planning approval for wind turbines, which had slowed down construction. He described Britain’s approach as “like being in Saudi Arabia and not drilling for oil”.
“A lot of countries really admire the UK for the wind resources it has, but there is a big difference between potential and reality,” he said.
Vestas, meanwhile, has unveiled plans to build facilities in China and America, the two biggest markets for wind, where large farms can be erected faster and with less fuss than in Britain.
“We got out not because of the wind but because of the impossibility of implementation,” said Engel. “We are investing in America and China because that’s where the opportunity is.
“It’s such a great shame that in Westminster they have made such an effort but it is not feeding through to the regions.”
The government has proposed the creation of a new infrastructure planning commission that will take decisions on large projects out of the hands of local authorities.
Already delayed, the commission will be of limited value for wind power because it will only be able to decide on projects of 50MW or larger. This means that most offshore farms, which generally have less trouble getting planning approval, will fall under its remit. Virtually all onshore farms fall below that threshold so they will not benefit from the new system.
Engel said: “We have said that we would invest in the UK again if we see a step change. They have a saying in America: ‘Just do it.’
That’s where we are here.”

Oil industry protest campaign adds to summer heat on President Barack Obama

Protests against Barack Obama are spreading across America like wildfire on a summer prairie, fuelled by an angry and fearful oil industry.

By Leonard Doyle in Washington Published: 7:04PM BST 22 Aug 2009

President Barack Obama is feeling the summer heat from the oil industry Photo: EPA
Still grappling on one front with opponents of his healthcare reforms, the President now faces a separate battle against an equally powerful foe: America's oil companies.
As the Mr Obama begins his summer family holiday on the island retreat of Martha's Vineyard, a raucous new group of protesters has begun venting its anger about his plans to tackle climate change - and has made clear that it will not allow his 10 day break to get in its way.

This time the strings are being pulled by the oil industry - known to its detractors as "Big Oil" - which is moving quickly and aggressively to block America's first climate change legislation.
The protests moved into a higher gear when the White House last week signalled a sudden retreat over a key aspect of the President's health care reform proposals: the plan for the US government itself to provide health insurance coverage for those who do not already have it.
It was a sign of weakness on which the oil industry has pounced. "Big Oil smells blood in the water," said Frank O'Donnell, who advises Democrats on the environment. "The stakes are very high."
The oil industry is aiming to kill off legislation which for the first time would limit how much carbon dioxide pollution US industry can pump out. During the election campaign Mr Obama came out in favour of a plan known as "cap and trade", under which industry would have to bid for permits to emit carbon dioxide - the waste gas from burning oil, gas and coal that is blamed for global warming.
The "cap" is the overall limit on the carbon dioxide produced by the US, and the "trade" allows carbon emitters to buy and sell carbon permits. Heavily polluting industries could choose to reduce emissions - or to buy surplus permits from other companies which chose to reduce their own emissions instead.
Mr Obama took his cue from a broad coalition of US industry which supports the market based plan, itself modelled on the previous campaign that cut emissions causing acid rain.
Many businesses believe that allowing the market to regulate emissions will give them more certainty about future energy costs and help them make better investment decisions.
Nuclear power plants and other low carbon emitters are big supporters of cap and trade, knowing it will make them more competitive. But the US Chamber of Commerce, which represents America's "smokestack" industries and the oil industry, all of which face higher costs, is trenchantly opposed - arguing that it will end with companies moving production and jobs abroad.
To the horror of the oil industry - which was politically powerful under President George W.Bush - Congress is already well on the way to adopting a cap and trade system. The House of Representatives has approved it and the Senate is to vote in September.
The legislation aims to double the amount of energy the US produces from renewable power, and is at the heart of Mr Obama's plan to give America a leading role in reversing global warming for the first time. But the fight now is about the cost to business.
The law being considered would charge companies at least $13 per ton of carbon emitted. Most energy companies and utilities would pass this on to consumers, and families would soon pay on average $1,437 a year more, studies show.
Mr Obama says his plan would return much of the money in lower taxes, but few buy that argument and opposition is growing shrill.
The oil sector, which accounts for 40 per cent of emissions but would receive only 2.5 per cent of the permits and faces buying the rest on the open market, is now rallying its forces to kill the legislation off altogether - preying on motorists' fears of steep petrol price rises.
"If Big Oil succeeds now, it will make it very hard to pass it in the future," said Mr O'Donnell. The reason is that the euphoria of Mr Obama's honeymoon with American voters is steadily fading - and next year is a congressional election year, when legislators are notoriously wary of confronting influential lobby groups.
Spotting the first sign of weakness in a President whose popularity ratings are falling, the oil industry is attempting to replicate the methods of health reform opponents to derail Mr Obama's plan.
It organised a so-called "Energy Citizens" rally in Houston, America's oil capital, last week, at which speakers railed against plans to change the country's gas-guzzling ways.
"Something we hold dear is in danger, and that is our future," said Bill Bailey, a rodeo announcer who was master of ceremonies. Inside the plus theatre auditorium, the wealthy owner of the Houston Astros baseball team urged more protests. "We need to preserve this way of life," declared Drayton McLane.
There was a high school marching band, free hot dogs and hamburgers and a video of the country and western star Trace Adkins.
"Of course I want to help protect the earth and leave a beautiful place for my future children to enjoy," said a protester, "But I will never have those future children if I am living on the streets because I lose my job due to this policy!"
The participants, mostly employees of energy companies, wore T-shirts with such slogans as "Create American jobs, don't export them" and "I'll pass on $4 Gas," a reference to the panic when oil prices spiked last summer.
The rallies have caused a rancorous split in the oil industry. One company, Shell Oil, supports the legislation, telling fellow members of the American Petroleum Institute that it is boycotting the protests. James Smith, chairman of Shell UK, who helped persuade the company to take its stance, declared earlier this year: "The cap in a cap-and-schemes trade ensures that the environmental objective is met. It works, and it is already proven that it works."
But most oil giants are opposed, some because they do not concede the need for such restrictions - and others because they would prefer an alternative scheme.
ConocoPhillips is openly encouraging its employees to protest, and there was a second rally in Roswell, New Mexico last week, organised by a public relations firm which represents both BP and Chevron.
Now many more "picnics", as the industry describes the events, are planned across the country.
A leaked internal American Petroleum Institute document sent to British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other institute members revealed that the rallies were designed to send "a loud message" to the Senate. Kert Davis of Greenpeace, which obtained the letter last week, said: "It's a clear political hit campaign."
In moving to win more favourable terms, the energy industry has made some serious missteps. Last week a coal industry lobby was discovered to have sent fake letters to members of Congress, purportedly from worried black and elderly people.
But the Obama administration appears to have been blindsided by the ferocity of the lobbying. It has began its own push back by enrolling John Podesta - who heads a Democrat think tank and ran Mr Obama's transition team - to argue the case.
"The cap-and-trade concept itself is a product of American ingenuity," he declared, adding that new clean energy technologies will create 1.7 million new jobs.
But the oil industry, which faces the prospect of stumping up billions of dollars for its permits, is not to be deterred.
"There's a lot of anger out there," said Mr O'Donnell, who heads Clean Air Watch, a lobbying group. He fears that it will now be difficult to get a climate bill adopted in time for Mr Obama to take the lead at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.
A defeat by the oil industry would be humbling for a president who took power with sweeping ambitions to transform America.
"He may be able to say that the US is finally taking steps in the right direction, but I don't think we will have a law to back it up," Mr O'Donnell lamented.

Coal aid rides high above wave power

Amount invested in marine energy is a drop in the ocean against more than £50m for collieries
Terry Macalister
The Observer, Sunday 23 August 2009

The government has spent 20 times more subsidising the coal industry over the past six years than it has put into marine energy, new figures show.
Ministers have given away £52.8m of a £60m coal investment aid scheme to extend operations at a range of mines around Britain, including Daw Mill in Warwickshire where energy minister Mike O'Brien is the local MP. This contrasts with the £2.3m handed out from a £50m pot created under the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund, which started in 2004 just 12 months after the launch of the latest coal scheme.
"At a time when we need to deliver a major expansion in renewable energy, it's astonishing to find that less than 5% of the investment promised to give Britain a lead in marine energy has actually been made," said Greg Clark, shadow energy and climate change secretary.
"It is little wonder that Britain punches way below its weight on renewables - we have the third-lowest contribution from renewable energy in Europe, despite some of the best resources."
The Observer revealed last month that ministers had spent almost nothing out of the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund, with potential users complaining the conditions attached to grants were so onerous that they could not gain access.
The amount of cash handed out under the coal aid scheme was recently revealed in parliament and the Conservatives say that all of it - bar one grant - has been spent in Labour constituencies.
The government has sought to make up lost ground, with money being promised in the recent energy white paper to various tidal and other schemes. More than £20m has been earmarked for a new Marine Renewables Proving Fund with a further £9.5m going to develop a Wave Hub off Cornwall and £8m for a European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.
But the Tories argue that ministerial promises mean very little. "It is easy to talk about support for renewables but what we need is action," said a spokeswoman. The opposition says it would use the money from the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund to establish a network of large-scale marine energy parks to be run on a commercial basis.
When the coal subsidies were launched in 2003 by the then trade and industry secretary, Patricia Hewitt, the main emphasis was on job retention.
Last night a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was not helpful to compare two completely different technologies - coal having been in development for generations, and marine very much cutting edge.
He added: "We want to be a global leader in wave and tidal energy, that's why we announced £60m of low carbon investment funding in the budget. That included £22m to help pre-commercial testing of marine technology, which should enable access to the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund."