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Welcoming an announcement by Energy Minister Greg Barker today (Thursday 24 May 2012) setting out a clear plan for solar power to 2020, Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

“After a year and a half of crippling uncertainty, the sun is starting to shine again on the solar industry.

“Greg Barker’s 2020 vision will allow solar firms to get back on their feet, protect jobs and plan for the future – but to avoid more fiascos any mechanism for setting subsidy payments must be managed independently of Government.

“The Energy Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create jobs and tackle high fuel bills by switching our electricity supplies to clean British energy – but current plans will leave the nation hooked on costly gas and risky nuclear power.

“Developing the nation’s huge renewable energy potential will help drive us out of recession – the Government must make it easier for communities, schools and hospitals to plug into clean power.”

This week, Friends of the Earth and the Federation of Small Businesses wrote to Energy Secretary Ed Davey, urging him to end the uncertainty over the feed-in tariff that is hampering the solar industry, and to set out a clear plan to 2020 that enables the sector to grow steadily and with confidence.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1.    The letter to Energy Secretary Ed Davey from Friends of the Earth and the Federation of Small Businesses is available at: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/factsheets/ed_davey_letter_may_2012.pdf

2.    In February 2012 Friends of the Earth welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new ambition to deliver 22GW by 2020 through solar power – saying it was a first step towards putting the industry on a stable footing and recognising its significant potential. http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/solar_review_09022012.html
3.    Earlier this year Friends of the Earth won a legal challenge against the Government’s premature cuts to solar feed in tariffs, which pulled the rug from under the solar sector and led to around 6,000 job losses.
http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/government_loses_appeal_over_unlawful_solar_cuts_25012012.html

4.    Friends of the Earth’s Clean British Energy campaign is urging the Government to listen to the public and transform our broken energy system by developing clean and affordable power from our wind, sun and water – backed by 85 per cent of the public. For too long the Big Six energy companies have locked Britain into importing costly gas and coal – causing our fuel bills to rocket. Backing renewable power and cutting energy waste will stabilise fuel bills and create new jobs. To find out more visit: www.cleanbritishenergy.co.uk.

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