13 Feb 2010

What are these new feed-in tariffs?

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.”

Sign petition

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.


Philip Booth said...

Latest news:

1. DECC clarifies Feed in Tariff issues
DECC has issued clarity on two points of its response to the Feed in Tariff. Firstly, DECC's website states that projects installed before 15 July 2009 that are not currently receiving RO support can now be eligible to receive the 9p/kWh existing projects generation tariff, provided that they apply for the RO before 31 March 2010. Previously, these projects were not eligible for any FIT payments.
For full details, see: http://ow.ly/19Gtn

Secondly, some clarity on Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 grants and the FIT has been issued by the Energy Saving Trust. "Non-domestic installations (charities, schools communities and other not-for-profit organisations) which received a grant under LCBP-2 after 15 July 2009, have the choice of either: retaining their grant and not being eligible for FITs; or repaying their grant and claiming FITs. Those who received a LCBP-2 grant before 15th July cannot claim the full feed in tariff. However, up to 31st march 2010 they may be able to apply to Ofgem for a ROC, to qualify for the lower tariff of 9p/kWh, as well as the 3p/kWh export tariff."
For full details see: http://ow.ly/19Gtu

Philip Booth said...

And here is a view from Monbiot with sadly a lot of truth about who it benefits:

George Monbiot on Feed-in Tariffs: Those who hate environmentalism have spent years looking for the definitive example of a great green rip-off. Finally it arrives, and nobody notices. The government is about to shift £8.6bn from the poor to the middle classes. It expects a loss on this scheme of £8.2bn, or 95%. Yet the media is silent. The opposition urges only that the scam should be expanded.

Guardian 2nd Mar 2010

Anonymous said...

Each pound spent on 'comically inefficient' solar by the rich is one less pound spent on high carbon holidays abroad. Khartoom Brookes postulate as evidence that money saved on energy efficiency is likely to be used for higher carbon activities (such as holidays abroad). My point is that surely this must also work in reverse.

Philip Booth said...

See also this:

Andy said...

Letter from Prof John Twiddell in Guardian today: George Monbiot seems to know more about losing friends than about solar electricity. The new UK feed-in tariff for microgeneration supports initial growth of innovative business and industry. This will tail off when the solar, wind and other technologies are established and accepted, as is now occurring in Germany. Monbiot's errors include: neglecting the opportunities for social housing, care homes, schools etc; neglecting job creation; misunderstanding payments for generation and for sale of actual electricity; not appreciating that microgeneration needs no extra grid cabling and has least transmission losses; implying that unit costs reduce at large scale (why does he use a bicycle?); and not recognising that in practice energy-conscious owners also conserve energy. Last month, George visited a university MSc course I support at Machynlleth, north Wales. The energy-conscious accom! modation uses only microgeneration, of which the major electricity component is solar, even in winter. I wish I had shown him the meter readings.

Letter from World Future Council: George Monbiot has lost the plot. Feed-in tariffs are the most successful policy worldwide in accelerating the introduction of renewable energies.


Andy said...

And this...

Jeremy Leggett: George Monbiot's attack on solar energy and the government's "cash-back" solar photovoltaic (PV) market-building scheme paints a distorted picture of the industry I work in, and government policy towards it. First, Monbiot gets the workability of solar wrong. He says: "The amount of power PV panels produce at this latitude is risible, they also produce it at the wrong time." Those who buy panels, therefore, will own a mere "fashion accessory". The companies who manufacture solar PV in the UK have shown that putting solar panels on all available building surfaces would generate more electricity in a year, under typical cloudy British skies, than the entire electricity consumption of our energy-profligate nation. Some fashion accessory. Monbiot has it wrong about who pays the cash back. "The government is about to shift £8.6bn from the poor to the middle ! classes," he says. But the number is not the cost to "the poor". It's not even the cost to all electricity consumers over the next two decades. The cumulative cost to all consumers – including all non-domestic industrial, public sector, and commercial users and covering all technologies in the scheme – is £6.7bn, and is spread over 20 years. The average household levy in 2013, when tariff rates are all up for review, is likely to be less than £3. This is far less than the average saving from the government's various domestic energy efficiency measures over the same period. So there is no net subsidy. The levy is not "regressive" at all.

Guardian 4th Mar 2010