The decision has come as a surprise to the AD industry because Energy Minister Greg Barker wrote a letter to the industry last November stating: “I have asked my officials to consult on measures, including a tariff review, in January.”

In a statement on the issue, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) said: “The REA, ADBA and industry colleagues had been pushing hard for a tariff review because under current policy steep tariff reductions are being triggered by ‘preliminary accreditations’, making small and mid-scale AD (below 500kW) uneconomic.”

REA head of policy Paul Thompson explained: “This is a bitter disappointment. We have worked hard with industry colleagues and DECC officials on proposals to fix the FIT for small and mid-scale AD, so it is extremely frustrating that this has not been done. The Government has kicked this issue into the long grass, leaving several projects and companies in the sector at extreme risk.

“Small-scale AD will be hit the hardest. Much of this takes place on farms, turning farm wastes and residues into self-supplied green energy and fertiliser, strengthening rural businesses, creating jobs and reducing emissions. We will continue to state the case to Government for AD at all scales and work to secure a viable solution as soon as possible.”

ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton added: “It is deeply disappointing that DECC have not been able to follow through on their commitment to ‘consult on measures, including a tariff review, in January [2014]’, and this decision appears contrary to the Government’s stated support for small scale AD on farms in particular.

“Smaller scale AD has a range of environmental benefits on top of generating electricity, including encouraging better manure management on farms and reducing the use of artificial fertilisers. A range of UK businesses are also in the process of developing technology and expertise which will be lost without the early-stage support which the current FIT level provides.”

Liz Gyekye

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