Press Release

MP GETS PRIME MINISTER TO TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT FEED-IN TARIFFS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY

24 October 2007

 At Prime Minister’s Questions today Lynne Jones MP asked Gordon Brown to consider introducing feed-in tariffs to encourage generation of renewable energy and the Prime Minister agreed to look again at the Government’ s policies for promoting renewable energy.

Dr Jones, who is the Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak and a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, said “I hope this will be a serious examination of the feed-in tariff system which, despite being so successful in Germany and several other EU Member States, who have significantly expanded their renewables sector, was not even considered in the Government’s 2007 Energy Review.

In Germany, electricity utilities are required to buy electricity from renewable electricity generators, who are awarded a set price for all of the electricity they generate for 20 years, with the price declining by a fixed percentage each year over the 20 year contract lifetime.  The extra costs are shared by the final users, and at roughly 12 per year are similar to the costs of the ‘UK Renewables Obligation’, as are the rewards to producers.   

Lynne Jones said “The big difference is that the feed-in tariff system is low risk because the price paid is predictable, and this provides the stability that investors need.  Consequently, under the German feed-in tariff there has been a much faster expansion of renewables generation.” 

Recent reports that the British Government is trying to persuade German Chancellor and EU President Angel Merkel to lower the EU’s renewable energy target of 20%, or at least to wriggle out of shouldering its fair share of the EU’s commitment, have caused a furore.    

Pointing out that Britain has the best natural resources for renewable energy in Europe but almost the worst performance on renewables, Lynne Jones asked the Prime Minister whether he was content to let other Member States who exceed the 20% target make up for Britain’s poor performance when it comes to meeting the EU’s target.   (The UK generates just 1.75% of its energy consumption from renewable sources, only Malta and Luxembourg do worse; the EU average is 7%.)   Gordon Brown, however, insisted that the UK continued to lead on Climate Change.

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For further details please contact Lynne Jones on 0207 219 4190

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