By: Matthew Lockwood
Published in: Energy Policy (2016 – 97:193-201)
Available online: July 2016
There is a long-standing debate over price vs. quantity approaches to supporting the deployment of renewable electricity technologies. In the context of a recent shift from quantity to price-based support, the UK has also introduced a new form of budgetary framework, the Levy Control Framework (LCF). The introduction of the LCF has been very important for investors but has received relatively little attention in the academic literature. The paper gives an overview of the LCF, explores its effects on renewables policy, on consumers and on investor confidence arguing that an unintended consequence of its introduction has been to increase uncertainty, through interactions with underlying support mechanisms. A number of problems with the current scope and design of the LCF are noted. It is argued that the LCF is best understood as aimed at avoiding a political backlash against renewable support policy in a context where the benefits of such policy are concentrated economically and socially. The paper concludes by placing the LCF within a wider context of a shift towards greater budgetary control over renewable energy support policy across European countries.