Posts tagged with: Energy Bill

You heard it here first. Sources recently disclosed to me that we can expect an announcement from the UK government concerning the feed-in-tariff in mid-to-late January.

You may well be aware that while the government has committed to launching a feed-in-tariff program to support renewable energy, it has not confirmed the value of the proposed tariff yet. Numbers have been suggested, but we do not know the exact price per kWh of energy that will be paid to producers and this is causing significant problems for the UK PV industry when advising customers.

The long-awaited announcement will be closely scrutinized to see whether the UK government is serious about meeting its renewable energy targets. Given that the UK is the last major European economy to introduce a feed-in-tariff program (by a considerable margin) the industry will be hoping that the price set will be strong enough to allow the UK to gain some of the lost ground.

Sharp Solar announced last week that they will begin to match their photovoltaic (PV) products to individual customer needs in a move designed to meet the needs of the housing trade. Sharp Solar, part of the Japanese electronics company Sharp spoke last week during the Ecobuild exhibition in London and reaffirmed the massive popularity of Solar roofing systems. Sharp Solar announced that interest in PV systems has grown dramatically and that Ecobuild has also highlighted a growing desire from businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and of course hopefully benefit from government schemes which will come in to lay in 2010

The new PV systems will be part of a bespoke service which will allow a choice of colours and more importantly, can be installed on roofs more easily making the possibility of future retrofitting much more convenient as the systems can be locked in to place on brackets. The new ‘Slot and Play’ system which was exhibited in Earls Court last week will offer value to new low carbon projects across the UK where buildings are fitted with the latest PV technology.

Key to the success of companies such as Sharp Solar is the highly popular feed-in tariff, due to be introduced next year by the UK government. Members of the industry have, since November’s Energy legislation and the creation of the Energy and Climate Change department been highly supportive of the tariff system as they believe it will give a much needed kick start to renewable investment as it has done for example in Germany.

Solar Sharp have given their backing to the ‘We Support Solar Campaign’ along with other leading members of the industry, providing a lobby which is seeking to push solar to the forefront of the energy debate and seek key government legislation and funding which will be paramount to the initial success of investment in Photovoltaic technology in this country.

The crucial factor in the success or failure of the solar industry will of course be the feed-in tariff, designed to spur the growth of investment in the renewable sector by guaranteeing long-term, healthy yields to investors. The long-term contracts set a fixed, above market rate for megawatts fed in to the national grid by small (systems under 5MW), green energy producers. The fixed rate for the renewable energy is paid by the power companies, the additional costs of which are absorbed by all consumers adding a small amount to monthly utility bills. Certainly, in order to keep apace with the infrastructure of areas such as Germany and California many believe that the government should set a rate of around 50p/kWh unit generated and the ‘We support Solar Campaign’ will make this clear when they produce their research findings to the government at the end of March.

Regarding the possible findings of the report, Andrew Lee of Sharp Solar commented,

“I can’t pre-empt what it is going to say, but there’s a lot of work being done on feed-in tariffs. There are a number of different options how feed-in tariffs would work, and certain job creation scenarios. There could be 300,000 to 400,000 people in this market if the feed-in tariff is fit for purpose.”

Glass and plastic component manufacturer, Romag who specialize in the production of units to be used in photovoltaic technology have developed a product designed to recharge electric vehicles in public spaces using solar panels. The ‘PowerPark’ facilities will be located in areas such as supermarkets, petrol stations, schools, offices and airports and will generate enough electricity via their PV canopies to both charge electric vehicles and feed energy in to the national grid.

PowerPark, which is set to be rolled out first in the North East and then the rest of the UK has already secured a contract with OneNE, a regional development agency created to help projects such as this in the North East of England. The regional development agency will also help Romag to set up the UK’s first photovoltaic training and development park, in the hope that it will see the development of other renewable projects which will help contribute to the general move away from fossil fuels in the UK.

Although as yet, electric cars have failed to enter the national consciousness the industry hopes that in the next few years, based on the provisions set out both in the Energy Bill land by the newly created Environment and Climate Change Department, they will become much more popular after 2010. Many commercial renewable manufacturers such as Romag are also hopeful that the feed-in tariff (FIT) which is to be introduced next year will help them by offering them a fixed rate for the megawatts they feed-in to the national grid via their PV canopies. As has been practiced successfully in places such as Germany, the tariff helps manufacturers and investors alike as their revenue streams are protected by the rate paid for the megawatts by the energy companies. The additional costs incurred by the power companies in purchasing the expensive renewable energy are spread across the consumers in their monthly bills.

There are hundreds of businesses in the UK which, like Romag will be hoping that the government’s feed-in tariff is sufficient to spur the renewable industry in the UK the same way it has done elsewhere, in particular in Germany where tariffs have been highly successful in promoting investment in photovoltaic plant.

In a bid to find a solution to the energy crisis facing their country, Pakistani delegates have met in the UK as part of an alternative energy drive which has been necessitated by a fear of dependence on fossil fuels. During their visit to the UK, the Pakistani group toured various successful renewable energy projects around the country and consulted specialists in order to find possible viable alternatives to fossil fuels which have proved not only dirty, but also expensive and precarious in the region.

Arif Allauddin, Chief Executive of Alternative Energy Development Board who led the delegation on the four day visit highlighted both the need for investment and a need for foreign specialist help in developing a successful Pakistani renewable energy program. After visiting a wind farm near Glasgow, Allauddin asserted that for Pakistan, wind energy represents the best alternative to fossil fuels and that the Pakistani government has already set aside large swathes of land for the construction of turbines between Karachi and Hyderabad.

The Pakistani Alternative Energy Development Board has been keen to highlight the fact that renewable investment in their country offers very attractive returns, using the current example of a Turkish company apparently already generating power wind power in Thatta. The UK government, having already passed the Energy Bill in November of last year, has provisions that will consolidate and help attract further investment in renewables in this country. The proposed feed-in tariff, set to be introduced in 2010 will entice investors by guaranteeing a fixed rate for energy fed in to the national grid from green sources. The Pakistani delegation claims that their government is taking similar measures in order to attract UK investors in to their renewable market.

Having already been impressed by some of the renewable operations currently producing power in the UK, Allauddin made clear the fact that Pakistan will, sometime in the near future have to start generating a far greater percentage of its megawatts from renewable sources if it is to protect itself from any future fossil fuel crises.