Posts tagged with: UK energy policy

Ministers must send clear signals that they believe in new forms of green technology if they want companies to invest in them, a think tank has said.


Solarfeedintariff believes that it is important for the government to agree on a clear and comprehensive energy policy that will allow for greater investment into renewable energy with an all-inclusive outlook, rather than a focus on energy companies alone.


The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said the government had been blowing “hot and cold” on its commitment to cut carbon emissions.

That caution had made the energy sector jittery about investing, it concluded.

The government said its proposed Energy Bill would provide “certainty” for investors in the electricity market.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said last month climate change goals could be met by banishing coal and gas in the 2030s.

But launching the draft Energy Bill, the government said it wanted to retain flexibility on the target date.

It had previously indicated it could make energy clean within two decades.



IPPR research fellow Reg Plant said: “An ambitious decarbonisation policy offers a route to long-term sustainable economic growth, and productive British businesses.

“But businesses need to know the government will provide consistent support for their investments.

“And at the moment ministers blow hot and cold on their commitment to a green future.”

The IPPR said there were “mixed signals” because the government initially promised ambitious targets before seeming to waver about their effect on the economy.

It also said the Treasury should ditch plans to introduce a “carbon floor price” – a green energy tax setting a minimum price for greenhouse gases.

Mr Davey has said the scheme would encourage companies to develop more green technologies, but critics argue the tax would be passed on to consumers.


‘Best deal’

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: “The government is proposing to reform the electricity market and give certainty to investors with the Energy Bill and revolutionise the energy efficiency of millions of homes and business across the UK through the Green Deal.

“This approach will deliver the best deal for Britain and for consumers, cutting energy waste and helping get us off the hook of relying on imported oil and gas by creating a greener, cleaner and ultimately cheaper mix of electricity sources right here in the UK.”

The IPPR report comes amid lobbying from environmental campaigners to cut subsidies to onshore wind farms further.

They argue their spread across the UK has been a blight on the countryside.

Mr Davey has already indicated the government wants to cut wind farm subsidies by about 10%.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the growth of renewable energy is vital for the British economy.

He has promised to lead the “greenest government ever”.


Originally published on the BBC website

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.



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:

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.
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.

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:

Market research and consulting firm, iSuppli has released a report showing the UK as the world’s fastest growing solar market in research looking at solar uptake since last year.

Good news indeed for UK solar and exactly the kind of market reaction which was expected following the announcement of the introduction of feed-in tariffs by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. While the cynics among you might point out that the UK was starting from the lowly figure of 6MW of output in 2009, it in no way detracts from growth figures of 1500 per cent, up to 96MW this year.

Feed-in tariffs, introduced in April 2010 work by offering fixed, guaranteed rates for small scale producers of renewable energy both for the energy they use and the surplus energy fed-back into the grid. The power companies are obliged by the legislation to buy the units of electricity at the top rates, the costs of which are passed onto the consumers.

In areas such as Germany, California and Spain, tariff systems have been an extremely effective way of generating investment interest in new renewable industries, traditionally perceived as unviable. Indeed, the annual Ernst & Young Investment Attractiveness Indices consistently ranks those countries with strong tariff legislation as the most attractive for renewable investors looking for good returns on their capital.

The UK growth is such that it has outstripped that of Spain, a mature solar market whose growth only tipped 730 per cent.

Dr Henning Wicht, Director of iSuppli commented that,

“Things definitely are looking brighter for the solar market in the United Kingdom in 2010, as the country has adopted attractive Feed-in-Tariffs to promote PV adoption. Furthermore, with leading solar country Germany cutting its FITs, the focus of the PV world is shifting to places with more favourable incentives, making the United Kingdom a solar hotspot this year.”

With tariff legislation now in place and growing consciousness of the viability of renewable energy, it is expected that the UK solar market will continue to grow albeit at the more steady rate of 50 per cent. The iSuppli study estimates that the UK market will reach 214MW by 2012 and 501MW by 2014 helping the UK to go along way to meeting its carbon reduction targets and building the foundations of a strong renewable energy industry capable of competing with the like of Spain and Germany.