Green MEP slams government over proposed changes to solar subsidies

Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has used a government consultation on the review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme to slam the government over its policies on renewable energy. She accuses the government of setting about to destroy the renewables sector, risking thousands of jobs and sending shock waves through a successful and growing industry. Two solar firms have already gone into administration, blaming the proposed subsidy cuts. Responding to the government consultation [1], Dr Scott Cato said:

“The Feed in Tariff (FIT) has been a great success. It has enabled hundreds of thousands of homes, communities and businesses to generate their own energy and has led to the price of solar power reducing to a point where it is possible to imagine it competing without subsidy in the near future. But the government proposals for dramatic cuts in the FiT risks bringing this success story to a sudden halt. Rather than celebrating the contribution this will make to combatting climate change, the Government seems intent on destroying an industry which has so much to offer the UK in terms of job creation, security of energy supply, and low-carbon generation. The proposals also cast serious doubt over the Government’s commitment to tackling climate change and undermines David Cameron’s credibility further in the run up to the COP 21 climate talks in Paris.”

Under the government’s proposals, the smallest solar arrays with less than 4kW of capacity would see generation tariffs on offer cut by 87 per cent from next January. Dr Scott Cato says this will mean solar PV installation is no longer cost effective for householders. Cuts of around a third to a half are also proposed for small-scale wind and hydro power projects. Molly Scott Cato has said her constituency of the South West will be particularly hard hit:

“In the South West over £13 billion has been invested in the renewable energy sector, creating nearly 13,000 jobs and generating 14 per cent of the region’s electricity. The impact of these proposed changes in this otherwise rural economy, where jobs are primarily associated with tourism and farming, will undoubtedly include job losses within already struggling communities. I urge the Government to do everything necessary to ensure the industry remains stable and that investor confidence is maintained.”

Greens argue support should be given until the country achieves 100% of energy needs from renewables. They call for subsidies for renewables to be matched by reductions in subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear.

Notes

[1] Consultation response: Molly Scott Cato has criticised the length and complexity of the consultation document, saying it has been deliberately designed to put people off completing it. She urges people who feel daunted by the document and the questions adapt her own responses.

There is an online survey form or use the the full response by Molly Scott Cato MEP as a guide and email to: FITReview@decc.gsi.gov.uk

The consultation closes on 23rd October.

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