Posts tagged with: David Cameron

David Cameron has been urged to stand up for renewable energyagainst what environmental campaigners see as attacks by the Treasury.

More than 170 green businesses signed a letter to the prime minister, drafted by the Renewable Energy Association, calling for a public declaration of support for green energy and a resolution of the uncertainty that surrounds government plans for renewable power subsidies.

The signatories include Frances O’Grady, deputy secretary general of the TUC, Sir Tim Smit of the Eden Project, and Penny Shepherd, chief executive of the Sustainable Investment and Finance Association of investors, as well as veteran green campaigners Jonathon Porritt and Tony Juniper, adviser to Prince Charles.

They are worried that recent government U-turns on support for renewables are putting off much-needed investment in the sector. They point to the recent decision on future subsidies, which was long delayed and left significant issues unresolved so creating uncertainty for investors. For instance, although offshore wind subsidies are now clear until 2017, those for onshore wind face another review, and solar subsidies are likely to be reviewed again next year. This was confusing and scaring off financial backers for renewable energy projects, they said.

The letter to Cameron invoked the Olympic spirit. It : “We urgently need you to deliver a united ‘Team GB’ effort to secure the UK’s place as a world leader in green skilled jobs and technology. Massive investment in renewable energy is taking place across Europe and Asia and the UK cannot afford to miss out – neither can we afford to miss our carbon targets.”

Martin Wright, chairman of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “Renewables must not be treated like a political football, kicked between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Treasury. Government shouldn’t squander this once in a generation opportunity to transform our energy system into one fit for the future, with all the jobs and inward investment this will bring.”

The signatories also referred to recent high-profile rows within the cabinet over the future of renewables. Aides to chancellor George Osborne have been briefing heavily that he wants to see more investment in gas-fired power generation, even though it is a fossil fuel with a highly volatile price.

The high cost of gas has been the biggest factor behind energy price rises in recent years, according to the government’s analysis. But Osborne believes that potential investors in gas will be put off by support for renewables – even though more than 10GW of new gas-fired generation is already in the advanced stages of planning or, in some cases, construction.

In a speech to potential overseas investors in UK energy on Tuesday, the chancellor failed to mention green energy at all, but praised oil and gas, pledging that gas would continue to be the UK’s biggest source of energy into the 2020s and beyond. He said: “There is no better example of the significant contribution that [the energy] sector makes to our economy than the UK oil and gas industry. This has long been one of our great industrial success stories.”

Originally published on The Guardian.

Solar panel installations have fallen by almost 90% in the weeks since the government cut the subsidy available, according to Department of Energy and Climate Change figures.

The change in financial support for solar power has been highly controversial and has seen the government lose a high-profile legal case in the high court. The new data lends support to the charge of some in the solar industry that the government cut the subsidy too far and too fast, endangering thousands of jobs. Ministers have defended their actions, saying the scheme they inherited from the previous government was poorly set up and was too costly for the energy customers who ultimately foot the bill.

Since 1 April, the amount paid to those installing solar panels fell from 43p/kWh of energy generated, to 21p/kWh. In the three weeks since then, an average of 2.4MW of solar photovoltaic capacity has been added each week – 87% down from the weekly average for the previous year of 18MW.

Greg Barker, the Conservative minister responsible for the solar subsidy scheme, said the changes aimed to end “solar booms” and busts: “The whole point of my reforms is to bring in a much greater degree of certainty and predictability.” He has set an ambition to have 22GW of solar capacity installed in the UK by 2020.

Caroline Flint, the shadow energy and climate change secretary, claimed on Tuesday that this target would take 169 years to reach at the current rate. “For months Labour has been warning that the government’s cuts to solar power would destroy thousands of jobs, cut off a green hi-tech British industry and stop families controlling soaring energy bills. These shocking figures prove that because of the government’s cuts, it will take a staggering 169 years for us to reach our targets for solar power.”

Paul Barwell, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, said: “We’ve seen drops in installation with every policy adjustment, but we expect this one will take a bit more time to pick up.” He said the reason take-up would take longer this time is the new requirement that homes must be reasonably energy-efficient before being entitled to solar panel subsidies – a requirement met by about half of homes.

“Many householders are aware that government has slashed subsidies,” Barwell added. “The challenge for us is to make householders aware that’s partly because industry has slashed costs, and partly because solar is so popular. There is no doubt that financially solar remains a great prospect for UK homeowners so there is no good reason why the UK market should stagnate.”

All sides agree that subsidies had to be reduced because the costs of solar panels continue to drop rapidly: the argument was about the speed and scale of the cut.

In his first significant remarks on green policy last week, prime minister David Cameron appeared to address the uncertainty caused in the renewables industry by the changes to the feed-in tariff. “When we have made a commitment to a project, we will always honour it in full,” he told energy ministers from around the world on 26 April


Originally published on The Guardian


Here at, we would like to see the government support the solar industry more comprehensively and understand that investment needs concrete figures and not hollow promises to work from. The insistence of energy efficiency within the home prior to the tariff being granted limits the number of rooftops where solar panels can be fitted and damaged growth in the industry.

We hope the 22GW capacity mentioned by Mr Barker is strived for and we would like to see more action to support the decentralization of  energy within the UK

With the general election just weeks away, the Conservative party under David Cameron has reiterated its support for green energy and has produced a paper outlining its proposals for a shake up of energy production in the UK. The green paper titled ‘Rebuilding Security’ announces a number of measures designed to help capitalise new and expensive green technologies.

In a budget statement undoubtedly designed to garner support from renewable industry insiders and environmental groups alike, the Conservative party leader is leading a project which will see the creation of a green investment bank with around £2 billion to invest in new, green technologies and help to grow the fledgling industry in the face of tightened lending from the traditional banking sector.

With investment essential to help the UK carbon neutral economy take off, the Conservative’s announcement has been met with encouraging assent from those it is meant to appeal to.

Director general of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Tom Foulkes welcomed the news as being key to the success of the UK green sector,

“Clearly, transforming the energy sector will require massive investment in new and upgraded infrastructure. A Green Investment Bank will go a long way towards funding the development of new technologies, but there remains a need for a secure method of funding for the long-term investment in energy infrastructure.”

Certainly, with the election expected in May green issues are expected to feature heavily with issues such as the the Clean Energy Cash Back scheme and the Copenhagen summit making headlines in recent months. Some of the key lobbies to appease ahead of the May ballot will of course be the environmental groups who this time are behind the green paper’s plans for the green energy overhaul.

Andy Atkins, Director of Friends of the Earth commented that,

“A Green Investment Bank is desperately needed to fund the replacement of the UK’s outdated fossil-fuel energy infrastructure with the clean energy technologies of the 21st century, and to create new green industries and jobs.”

With the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) bringing in the feed-in tariff on April 1, the ante has certainly been ‘upped’ with regards to real policy designed at tackling climate change and achieving targets on carbon emission reduction. With the Gordon Brown Labour government making positive moves towards a sustainable energy economy, the opposition will have their work cut out in order to show that they are also capable (and indeed willing) to see the development of a strong green technology industry in the UK. will regularly update all news regarding the feed-in tariff before the election so please visit us again to stay up to date with all green issues.

Conservative Party Leader David Cameron and probable next British prime minister come 2010, has reaffirmed his commitment to green issues by issuing a statement declaring his support for feed-in tariffs as a mechanism for encouraging the growth of renewable industries.

In a document released from the Conservative Party, authored by Cameron and titled The Green Consumer Revolution, the leader of the opposition outlined a 5 point approach to tackling climate change. Key to these points is the adoption of a series of incentives designed to spark investment in solar energy uptake by off-setting the obvious costs involved in the purchasing and installation of solar technology.

Feed-in tariffs operate on the basis that small scale renewable energy producers are offered fixed, premium rates for the energy fed back in to the national grid. The legislation obliges utility companies to purchase the energy from the small scale suppliers over a period of years, therefore offering investors returns on their initial investments on solar plant.

David Cameron used the German solar feed-in tariff example to demonstrate the effectiveness of tariffs as a means of provoking investment and installation, stating,

“Take the issue of people generating their own energy. The reason why Germany is so far ahead of us is because they have a system of what they call feed-in tariffs. That means people who generate their own energy sell it back into the national grid. That way, they can earn money as well as reducing their bills.

In addition he commented,

“We should be equally bold here. Two years ago we announced that a future Conservative Government would introduce a similar system of feed-in tariffs to Britain. And to make sure the system works, we will also give every house a smart meter so the amount of energy they are selling back to the grid can be calculated and they know how much electricity they are generating themselves”.

In the document, Cameron followed in the footsteps of Barack Obama and political rival, Gordon Brown by asserting the potential of green energy as a means of revitalizing the current stagnant economy. Both Brown and Obama used the term ‘Green New Deal’ drawing parallels with the initiatives introduced by Roosevelt as remedies to the Great Depression with Cameron asserting,

“It’s a triple win. It will create a new competitive market in energy efficiency worth at least £2.5 billion a year. It will create over 70,000 skilled jobs. And it will save an estimated 9.4 million tonnes of carbon”.