Scottish wind and solar power leaders have warned the Brit-Govt that investment in small scale low carbon projects is running out of steam due to uncertainty over the future of feed-in tariffs.
They are co-signatories to a letter – also sent by the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association, Community Energy Scotland, Energy UK, National Farmers Union, Renewable UK, Scottish Land and Estates and the Solar Trade Association – to Business and Energy Minister Greg Clark highlighting concerns about delays to the government’s consultation into the future of the FIT regime.
The consultation into the replacement for FITs, which are due to close to new applications at the end of March 2019, is nearly a year overdue.
FITs provide a guaranteed payment for electricity generated from small-scale renewable energy installations, like roof top solar panels.
But the wind and solar chiefs warn that lack of clarity over next steps for FITs threatens to undermine investment in small scale renewable projects, which were left reeling following a 65% cut in the tariff rate three years ago. Their letter says:
“Without a viable route to a market, the benefits that small-scale low-carbon energy projects can deliver to the UK risk being lost.
“This cliff-edge is creating considerable uncertainty for the organisations and groups we collectively represent.
“Investor confidence in the sector is waning, with developers increasingly looking to invest elsewhere. UK communities and business, as well as industry, risk missing the opportunities that come with developing a vibrant small-scale energy sector.”
According to the letter, FITs have supported much of the small-scale low-carbon generation installed in the UK, contributing to lower greenhouse gas emissions, helping to create a more dynamic and flexible energy system and boosting local economies.
The Helm Review of Energy Costs, which was published last October, recommended that FITs should be scrapped along with other subsidies for nuclear and renewable energy.
Chris Hewett, Chief Executive, Solar Trade Association, said: “The solar industry responded to government support through Feed-in-Tariffs by installing solar PV on nearly a million buildings in the last decade.
“We are ready to move into the next phase as subsidies reduce, but cannot develop viable business models until we know the rules under which we will be operating beyond spring 2019.”
8 Feb 2018