Green coalition sends warning not to reduce subsidies for the Feed-in Tariff

Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy, has been warned by a 22 groups from the green, countryside and housing industry not to cut subsidies for the generation of green electricity as it would jeopardise job creation, energy security and carbon emissions targets.

Chris Huhne

The warning has come after the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s minister of state, Charles Hendry, said he would review the £27bn Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) grant scheme that’s due to be introduced next April, and the £8bn Feed-in Tariff (FiT).

The Feed-in Tariff, which pays those who generate their own electricity using small-scale renewable technology, has proved popular since the scheme launch in April. But both this and the Renewable Heat Incentive – designed very similarly to the Feed-in Tariff but for renewable heating – have faced uncertain talks recently ahead of the latter’s arrival on April 1 2011.

Hendry told the Telegraph in an interview: “We inherited a situation where we could see who was going to benefit commercially but we couldn’t really see how it was going to be paid for and that it would create pretty substantial bills“. But his words have struck a chord with a number of industry bodies and firms who are collectively warning the government that a U-turn could have serious implications.

Those against, made up of the Renewable Energy Association, National Farmers’ Union, Greenpeace UK and the Solar Trade Association, have responded to Hendry’s comments with an open letter to Chris Huhne.

The letter states: “As you know, heat is responsible for 47% of UK emissions and 49% of UK energy demand, so no government serious about climate change or energy security can ignore half the problem”.

And the letter went on to say: “You published a report with your July energy statement estimating that the cost to households of energy and climate change policies could be counterbalanced by savings from existing energy efficiency policies.

“We hope Decc ministers will advocate this approach, including in the Comprehensive Spending Review, to explain how essential technological innovation can be paid for.

“We were disappointed not to see this argument made in recent media coverage. Pursuing energy efficiency alongside renewables is clearly the right approach.”

Leave a Comment