So the new feed-in tariffs (FITs)are launched and will be paid to people, communities or businesses who generate electricity from solar panels, wind turbines or other renewable sources - but why is the Government's ambition so low? And this would seem to benefit more the middle classes and push PV more than other more efficient technologies?
The Government only intend that the sector will supply 2% of the country’s electricity by 2020. This compares with the 12% which the European Photovoltaic Industry Association expects to be able to provide with just solar PV across Europe, and the 15% of the country’s electricity production which could come from so called “embedded generation” according to the National Grid.
There is also criticism that the tariffs are too low - also there are variations - some technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels on household roofs will get a higher feed-in tariff, and, importantly, all tariffs will be uprated with inflation each year. An average sized three bedroom home, for example, could earn from PV households £25,000 over 25 years. But large-scale community wind turbines will get a lower tariff than proposed last year, leaving the overall level of support to the industry little changed. The FITs for new projects will be held at the current rates for two years but then cut by 8.5%, more than originally planned (see Guardian here).
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities told the North West Parliamentary Committee that, because replacing nuclear reactors will save only around 4% of the UK’s carbon emissions, we need to be absolutely sure they won’t negatively impact on dealing with the other 96% (download here). They argue that investing in new reactors could well divert investment from other low carbon technologies and energy efficiency measures. Indeed they go on to say that the economy would be able to achieve far more if money spent on new nuclear reactors were instead spent on energy efficiency and renewables. See similar in our submission to nuke consultation here.
To read the government’s full report, visit:http://ow.ly/14aY
To see a detailed summary see word document at: www.regensw.co.uk/downloads/RegenSW_424.doc
John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, welcomed the scheme but said rates are still too low for communities to invest in expensive long term schemes like hydro electric on rivers or larger turbines. “For many families, generating their own clean electricity will be an attractive investment. However, the level of ambition set by the government’s Feed-in Tariff is still far too low if we are to reach the full potential of small scale renewables.”
The new feed-in tariff is unfair to renewable energy pioneers that have done the work earlier. We should be rewarding our pioneers! See the petition at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Microgenerators/
Lastly see also local 'Pay As You Save' project here.