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”.