New industry campaign urges Govt. rethink over cuts to small-scale renewables

renewables generalBy DARA BUTTERFIELD 

A new campaign has been launched by the Solar Trade Association and Renewable UK opposing the Government’s plans to cut financial support to small-scale renewables, including wind turbines and solar panels.

The People Power campaign is calling for members of the public, as well as thousands of renewable energy workers, to petition the Government to provide more stable support to these maturing sectors by writing to their local MP and harnessing the power of social media.

The Government’s current plans are in danger of causing substantial job losses to the renewable energy sector by drastically reducing the amount of financial support local communities can receive from electricity suppliers for the clean power they generate.

The potential changes mean that a huge number of renewable energy projects would no longer go ahead and that home-grown electricity will be out of reach to ordinary households, farmers and small businesses.

A spokesman for the Solar Trade Association said: Poll after poll shows the great majority of the public strongly supports local renewable energy. Yet Government proposals for Feed-in Tariffs are extreme and they will stop families and communities from investing locally in clean energy all over the UK. “

 Gemma Grimes, Director of Policy, Consents & Intelligence at Renewable UK said: “This campaign is about sending a simple message to Government: don’t wreck an industry, which for the first time has given people the power to control their own energy supply. Small-scale renewables is an extraordinary success in the UK, creating thousands of new green jobs and allowing local communities to generate their own clean energy.”

 MP Callum McCaig, the SNP’s Energy spokesman in the House of Commons, commented: “This has been a time of pretty unprecedented change the approach to renewables by the UK Govt. since the election.Under the coalition there was a large sense that they were pursuing relatively green policies focusing on decarbonisation.

“I think it would be fair to say that since the election, in term of energy and climate change have been pursuing what could well be deemed as an ideological attack against almost all forms of renewable energy.

“I think that has been damaging to Scotland and I think there are major concerns that I have around about what they have been doing.

“What’s actually shocked me in my engagement on a UK level has been the lack of detail. It would be flattering to say the UK energy policy is any better than a little bit ad hoc and disjointed. There is no long term plan.

“We’re at the stage now where in terms of electricity generation capacity margins will be down to 2% this winter. There is significant concerns about how we will keep the lights on going forward.

“From a specifically Scottish point of view, changes are being made to the renewables market in Scotland that are damaging investor confidence. When you look at the market, an international market where policies in terms of energy are changing quite frankly at the stroke of a pen with absolutely no forewarning I do think that creates a degree of uncertainty which needs to be discouraged.”

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