Lib Dem peer bids to repeal feed-in tariff cuts

Liberal Democrat peer and former coalition minister Lynne Featherstone has tabled a motion in the House of Lords to repeal changes to the Feed-in Tariff announced by DECC last month.

Starting on 8 February, the Department plans to bring in lower tariffs for almost of all forms of renewable installation, with 15 January set as the deadline for applications to get the current rates.

Changes to the rates for solar PV have faced widespread criticism from within the industry. Under the plans, the tariff for small domestic installations of less than 10kW will be cut by 63%, from around 12p/kWh to 4.39p/kWh.

The rate for small commercial installations of between 10 and 50kW is set to fall from 11.3p/kWh to 4.59p/kWh. Decc’s own impact assessment predicts the new tariffs will lead to job losses in the solar sector of between 9,700 and 18,700. 

Speaking to edie’s sister title Utility Week, Baroness Featherstone – who now acts as the Lib Dems’ spokesperson for energy and climate change – said: “To me it seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face in that it’s not only environmental madness to destabilise and undermine our burgeoning and nascent renewable industries but it also will make it virtually impossible to deliver on the government’s most recent promises in Paris at COP21.

“I think there’s an absolute need to remove subsidies over time but I think the level and abruptness with which this industry’s asked to cope endangers its very being and that to me is incredibly short sighted.

“The renewable energy industry themselves say by the end of the decade, or thereabouts, they could have made a transition, if it was a smooth transition, known in advance and calculated into their planning.

“Talking to the industry, [the Government] should come to an agreement on the amount and speed per annum of the reductions in subsidies.”  

The motion is set to go before the Lords on 26 January.

Tom Grimwood

This article first appeared on edie’s sister title, Utility Week

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie