Groundhog Day for Renewable Energy Sector
Date of Article
Oct 20 2011

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London, 19th October 2011, The Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG) convened at the House of Commons today to discuss the implications of the much-anticipated comprehensive Feed-in Tariff (FiT) review.

The cross-party parliamentary group comprising parliamentary and industry members included Rachel Solomon-Williams, Head of the Feed-in Tariff Review at Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), as well as key industry experts from RenewableUK, Solarcentury and Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association.

With the first comprehensive FiT review set for April 2012, the industry is on tenterhooks to anticipate the outcome therefore the purpose of today’s meeting was to inform and consult those involved in the renewable energy sector.

Solomon-Williams explained that DECC is currently facing numerous issues, most notably the requirement to adhere to the Feed-in tariff budget (£360M in 2014/2015). She confirmed that DECC do not currently have the resources to support an over-spend.

Furthermore, whilst the review is set for 1 April 2012, it was mentioned that this date may be amended if “greater urgency” for review is required.

In essence and despite rumours circulating in the sector, it was made clear that DECC have made no decisions as yet with regard to the review and level of impact upon the respective renewable energy technologies covered, although an announcement is expected to be “made soon”, albeit the timescale wasn’t clarified.

“The lead up feels like Groundhog Day,” was the comment made by Jeremy Leggett Founder and Executive Chairman at Solarcentury, which summed up the industry’s anticipation of the April review.
What was clear from the statistics produced at the meeting, was the significant uptake in solar PV deployment as compared to wind energy and anaerobic digestion projects being commissioned since the FiT was introduced in April 2010.

Andrew Watkin, head of the Carter Jonas Energy Team, who attended today concluded, “With the current economic climate and confidence in the UK financial sector being seriously low along with major economic unrest across Europe, what the UK market requires is a steady hand at the tiller, so that all involved in the sector can move forward and progress technology developments with greater certainty, as oppose to a knee jerk reaction with regard to tariff levels and a resultant negative impact on investor confidence.”