Latest news on "feed-in tariffs"
29 October 2008
In June the Government published its 'UK Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation' and I welcomed the recognition of the potential benefit of a UK system of feed-in tariffs (you can read my response to the consultation here). I believe that feed-in tariffs, backed up by a national programme of installation of smart meters, on a par with the nationwide conversion from coal gas to North Sea gas, would make a significant contribution to meeting the UK's renewable target. I am one of 281 MPs who signed Early Day Motion 890, which calls on the Government to adopt feed-in tariffs. A copy of this EDM is below.
I was in the chamber on 16 October when Ed Miliband, Secretary of State at the recently formed Department for Energy and Climate Change, made a statement on the new Department. I very much welcomed his announcement that the Government had had a change of heart on the feed-in tariff. He said:
“Earlier this year, we published our draft renewable energy strategy. Having examined the issue, I can say that what is clear to me is not only the scale of the challenge, but the urgency of getting on with the delivery. The renewables obligation has tripled supply in the past five years, and we are making further changes in its structure, in planning policy and in access to the grid. However, having heard the debate on the issue, including what has been said by many colleagues on both sides of the House, I also believe that complementing the renewables obligation for large-scale projects, guaranteed prices for small-scale electricity generation—feed-in tariffs—have the potential to play an important role, as they do in other countries. Having listened to the views that have been expressed, including those expressed in the other place, we plan to table an amendment to the Energy Bill to make that happen.”
(You can read my contribution to the debate here: http://pubs1.tso.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/
However, during the Commons' debate on the Climate Change Bill on 28 October, I was disapointed to learn that the consultation on the proposals for the feed-in tariff will not take place until next summer and I challenged the Minister on this point. The Hansard record of the Minister's statement and my intervention is printed below:
Climate Change Bill - 28 Oct 2008
Joan Ruddock: Let me briefly turn to microgeneration, which is one of the areas new clause 10 covers. As hon. Members will be aware, in considering the Energy Bill on Report in the other place on 22 October, my noble Friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath committed us to introduce an amendment to the Energy Bill to support small-scale generation by means of a feed-in tariff. The details of the amendment, including the level of an upper limit for the feed-in tariff, are still being considered, but it will be tabled ahead of Third Reading in the other place on 5 November. It will be an enabling power, and we aim to consult on these issues next summer.
.... As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has just pointed out from a sedentary position, our Department has been in existence for only three weeks, so we think we are acting rather swiftly. I have already said that details are not yet available, so I am not in a position to give the hon. Gentleman any more information.
Lynne Jones: My hon. Friend says that the new Department is acting swiftly, but I have just heard her say that the consultation will not take place until next summer. I take on board the point that the proposals need to be drawn together, but since there are established mechanisms in neighbouring EU countries, I should not have thought that it would take until next summer just to start the consultation.
Joan Ruddock: I hear what my hon. Friend says. I was advised on this, and there are procedures, but I am more than willing to look into the matter she raises, because I share her interest in making things happen faster.
FEED-IN TARIFFS FOR RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY
That this House notes that massive expansion of renewable energy generating capacity is essential in order to cut the UK's carbon emissions significantly and to meet the EU renewable energy targets; further notes that the UK generates just five per cent. of its electricity from renewable sources; recognises that many European countries have adopted a feed-in tariff system with considerable success, paying a long-term, guaranteed premium price for renewable electricity exported to the grid; appreciates that a feed-in tariff has played a transformational role in Germany which now generates 13 per cent. of its electricity from renewable sources and employs 236,000 people in the renewable energy sector; further notes the finding of the Stern Review that `comparisons between deployment support through tradeable quotas and feed-in tariff price support suggest that feed-in mechanisms achieve larger deployment at lower costs'; believes that there is an urgent need for a feed-in tariff to support smaller scale renewable electricity schemes; recognises that a UK feed-in tariff could work alongside other policy mechanisms that support large scale renewable electricity generation; and calls on the Government to introduce the necessary enabling powers for a feed-in tariff in the current Energy Bill and give a commitment to introduce, following appropriate consultation, a UK feed-in tariff to support smaller non-merchant renewable electricity generation.
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