The Government’s rationale for cutting the Feed-in Tariff for Solar PV so fast and so drastically is that it is a necessary measure in order to keep expenditure of Feed-in Tariffs in check. Many reports in the media and statements by ministers themselves have suggested that Solar PV is costing households a large amount on their energy bills (the Feed-in Tariff is considered levy on energy bills by the Treasury and therefore labelled a form of taxation). We are concerned that the Government and the large energy companies are not being transparent about how much of taxpayers money gets spent on the various energy technologies and misleading people into believing the cost of renewable is higher than it really is.

As an example, according to an email seen by Engensa from the energy regulator Ofgem, officials have calculated that the cost of the Feed-in Tariff to household energy bills is less than £1 per year. This agrees with Engensa’s own research found here. In contrast, the UK tax payer pays hundreds of times more than this towards the cost of decommissioning nuclear power stations and looking after the nuclear waste they generate. According to the Government’s own figures, £6.93bn of taxpayers money was given to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in 2010-2011, which equates to £260 per household.

As Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP pointed out in a recent speech, when there are dozens of Big 6 employees working inside Parliament contributing to policy as secondees, and hordes of energy company lobbyists pushing for the decisions they want, it is very important that the Government is absolutely transparent about the costs and benefits of the various options so that the public, not big companies, can decide.

One comment

william roberts

December 29, 2011

The £bns needed for Nuclear Decommissioning are absolutely necessary to clean up the hazards of ionising radiation created by the first generation of Nuclear Power Stations and for some research facilities. In addition, more £bns will will be needed to be obtained from generations of bill payers and taxpayers for the clean up of second generation sites owned by EDF.

More than £5bn of funds collected from bill payers since 1980s and aside for decommissioning were taken by Gordon Brown’s government in 2005, and assets, such as Westinghouse, were sold by the Brown government and the $15bn proceeds not put into nuclear clean-up. Brown’s government also sold the UK’s uranium stockpiles before prices rocketed upwards. The proceeds were not used for clean-up. What a terrible financial and environmental mess left for our children.

The positive externalities of solar mean that future generations will benefit from the investments we make now, and every panel will still be generating non polluting electricity with no clean-up liabilities. I know our children will thank those individuals and small business who invest in solar PV.