Today the government confirmed that it will press ahead with proposals to cut the export tariff to new applicants from 31 March 2019. The industry has responded strongly.
Chris Hewett, chief executive, Solar Trade Association:
“BEIS has taken this decision even before it sets out how it will overcome a really fundamental market failure that risks seeing new solar homes put power on the grid for free from next April. At a bare minimum, government should retain the export tariff until an effective, alternative way to fairly remunerate solar power is implemented.
“Nobody is saving any money here because the export tariff is not a subsidy. Last month energy minister Claire Perry said that she would not allow a situation where solar generators would have to give away their power for free. We urgently need her to set out the detail behind plans for an export floor price as soon as possible to prevent the uncertainty that today’s announcement will create from damaging market confidence any further. The STA has proposed a number of viable options, so there is no justifiable reason for delay.”
Frank Gordon, head of policy, Renewable Energy Association:
“The decision to completely remove the export tariff and the generation tariff, while not a surprise, creates a real hiatus in the market and the lack of a replacement route to market is worrying.
“The government must work quickly to consult on, establish and implement a successor scheme to avoid significantly stalling the much needed deployment of decentralised renewables likely to happen after 31st March 2019, which will have the knock-on effect on jobs and continued investment.
“The minister herself is publically on record as stating that ‘renewable power should not be provided to the grid for free’ and this decision is seemingly at odds with that, making it even more important that it is backed up by suitable replacement proposals as soon as possible.”
Hannah Smith, senior policy manager, Scottish Renewables:
“The UK government’s disappointing decision to close the feed-in tariff scheme jeopardises our ambitions for small-scale renewables, community-owned energy and the smarter, cleaner energy system which we need to fight climate change.
“While commitment to a number of grace periods is to be welcomed, it is particularly frustrating that comments made by the minister in parliament last month (Nov) regarding the export tariff have not been recognised in this consultation response, and that new small-scale renewable projects which connect from next spring will, under these plans, be providing electricity to the national grid for free.
“This decision is of particular concern for small Scottish projects, which are already facing significant cost increases because of a number of ongoing Ofgem reforms, as well as for the Scottish government’s ambition that 2GW of community or locally-owned energy be installed by 2030. The feed-in tariff is a major driver of community-scale renewable energy, and we have already begun discussions with the Scottish government to identify areas we can work on together to support the small-scale renewables sector, and look forward to continuing this.”
Neil Jones, campaigner, 10:10 Climate Action:
“It’s hard to fathom the government’s logic here. Solar has been a huge success story, seeing a million homes and a thousand schools taking clean energy and climate action into their own hands.
“Yet the government has bizarrely decided to prevent new homes, schools and businesses installing solar after March from being paid for the energy they export to the grid. While coal fired power stations continue to profit, households wanting to go green will be left out of pocket.
“The government now has three months to fix this. It must choose whether it wants to back the public’s favourite energy source – solar – or instead push it off a cliff.”
Chaitanya Kumar, senior policy adviser, Green Alliance:
“The decision to end export tariffs for small scale renewables is unfair: it means that people who want to own them won’t be guaranteed that they can sell their electricity to the grid, while large scale developers do have this guarantee.
“Policy should encourage individuals and community groups to own renewables, and enable them to user their renewables to reduce energy costs for everyone. That would support a rapid and just transition to clean energy for everyone in the UK.”