Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
💎 Reveal Undervalued Stocks Hiding in Any Market Get Started

Britain's tax take risks blowing green energy off target

Stock Markets Mar 13, 2023 12:26PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An offshore wind farm is seen as a murmuration of starlings flies above in Brighton, Britain, February 6, 2023. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio

By Susanna Twidale and Shadia Nasralla

LONDON (Reuters) - A cap on revenue and the lack of the kind of incentives offered to oil explorers are blocking the development of renewable energy in Britain, say industry officials who are pressing for changes ahead of this week's budget.

The British government has set targets for major increases in wind generation, for instance, as it seeks to meet a goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and to become more independent of imported energy following the supply disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Representatives of the renewable energy sector say those goals could be missed without policy changes, especially as other countries are doing more to attract investment in green power.

Among the most contentious issues is Britain's Electricity Generator Levy (EGL), which the government implemented from the start of this year to combat high energy prices, and which the industry says is a "de facto windfall tax".

Rod Wood, managing director at wind energy developer Community Wind Power, is among those seeking changes to the EGL in Britain's March 15 budget.

“The taxation (EGL) is going to kibosh renewable targets the UK has set,” he said.

Specifically, he wants it to include an investment allowance like the one oil and gas companies receive under their equivalent Energy Profits Levy (EPL).

The EPL includes an investment incentive that means oil and gas firms can offset from their tax bill 91.40 pounds in every 100 pounds spent on new production.

British government targets include increasing offshore wind capacity to 50 gigawatts (GW) from around 14 GW now.

Wood said without tax changes, his company would be forced to halt development of three onshore Scottish projects, totalling 1.2 GW, which by 2025 could be generating enough power for more than a million homes.

“When you look at how much costs have gone up in the UK versus stimulus packages on offer in the U.S., it's not hard to see anyone who can will be relocating business there,” he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration last year signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which delivers a support package for clean technology worth $370 billion.


Other developers say the combination of levies, high energy prices, supply chain bottlenecks, inflation and interest rate rises means their projects are under threat.

Denmark's Orsted (OTC:DOGEF) last week said its Hornsea 3 project in the North Sea, which at around 3 GW would be the world's largest windfarm when built, could be paused unless it gets support such as tax breaks because costs have surged.

Another major project is the Vattenfall group's Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone.

Rob Anderson, its project director, said the British government "must show its support for the sector in next week’s budget through capital allowances”.

Under the EGL, a 45% tax on low-carbon power generators applies to revenue on power generation at an aggregate price above 75 pounds ($89) per megawatt hour (MWh).

With wholesale electricity prices around 120 pounds/MWh, the level at which the tax kicks in is too low, Wood said, citing more generous levies in Europe.

The European Commission has set a revenue cap on electricity companies, requiring them to hand over any excess revenue to national governments they get for selling their non-gas generated power over 180 euros ($190)/MWh.


Oil and gas producers, which have been subject to a windfall tax since May 2022, also want change.

They say the Energy Profit Levy (EPL) windfall tax which last year raised the tax rate to 75%, one of the world's highest, is shrinking producers' access to funding.

UK government revenue from oil and gas sector UK government revenue from oil and gas sector

Renewable developers say the oil and gas sector has for years enjoyed tax breaks, while green groups say the sector should no longer be given any incentives given the need to phase out fossil fuel.

The British fossil fuel industry says it is still necessary to invest in the ageing North Sea basin and home-grown fuel is far less polluting than importing oil and gas from distant places where supply might be more easily disrupted.

It also says higher tax rates should kick in only when profits are derived from prices above a yet-to-be-agreed price floor, based on an historic average, rather than the entire profit regardless of price as is currently the case.

The industry also wants the tax to apply to realised prices, which include hedging results, rather than broader market prices.

Many oil and gas producers hedge large chunks of their output to comply with lenders' demands, which means their exposure to market price changes is limited.

Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt, in a meeting in December, rebuffed calls from the oil and gas industry to amend the windfall tax.

Further meetings, including in late February with Treasury officials have taken place, but no change was expected from the March 15 budget, two industry sources said, declining to be named.

Meanwhile, Britain's biggest oil and gas producer Harbour, has announced job cuts and shunned the latest licensing round. TotalEnergies cut its UK investment programme by a quarter.

($1 = 0.8395 pounds)

($1 = 0.9459 euros)

Britain's tax take risks blowing green energy off target

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your profile, will be public on and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email