Proposed cuts to Feed in Tariffs are ‘a disaster for the climate’ say experts at CAT
The Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme was set up in 2010 to promote small-scale renewables through ensuring householders, communities or businesses are paid a set tariff by electricity suppliers for the power their projects generate.
On 27th August, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced a review of the FiT scheme, proposing a set of measures including revised tariffs based on updated technology cost data, a more stringent degression mechanism and deployment caps leading to the phased closure of the scheme in 2018-19. The consultation proposes that if such measures cannot put the scheme on an affordable and sustainable footing then there should be an end to generation tariffs for new applicants as soon as legislatively possible, which could be as early as January 2016.
What the headlines from yesterday’s announcement on Feed in Tariffs should have shown was clear support for the deployment of small to medium scale renewable technology. A visionary policy on renewables could have driven an increased uptake of low carbon initiatives in farms, households, communities and businesses, slashing carbon emissions and generating energy and income for people across the UK.
Instead, we are seeing a wholesale dismantling of a scheme that has enjoyed huge success – small to medium scale wind alone has injected £174 million into the economy in the past year. The announcement has come as a great blow to a flourishing industry and threatens tens of thousands of jobs. DECC needs to show that it understands the climate science, that it recognises that we have the technologies to reduce emissions, and that it has the capacity to make the right decisions to support a flourishing industry.
Whilst this government may protest about the amount of money spent growing the clean energy sector, it is important to remember that kick-start subsidies are only temporary measures and if they are cut too sharply the uncertainty created in these vital new markets actually devalues the money invested to date. Furthermore, it must be recognised that the long-mature coal, gas and oil energy markets also get generous and on-going subsidies and incur additional externalised costs that occur at some point in the future or in other places.
Unless long-industrialised countries like the UK begin to make deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions there is a severe risk that we will be unable to stop global temperatures from rising by above 2 degrees – the consequences of which will be devastating across the world.
The Centre for Alternative Technology will next week launch a new report – ‘Who’s Getting Ready for Zero?’ – showing that across the globe countries, regions and cities are preparing for the transition to a zero carbon future. DECC’s announcement is another in a series that show a radical rethinking is required in the current UK government to meet the climate challenges we face.
To take part in the online consultation follow this link
Further analysis from Friends of the Earth, Renewable UK , Business Green