George Osborne
HM Treasury,
1 Horse Guards Road,

28th October 2011



Stop destroying UK jobs


Seize the Opportunity for Jobs and Growth, Support renewable power

Dear Mr Osborne,

I write to declare astonishment that your policies appear continually ignorant of the magnitude of the business opportunity presented to UK PLC by the global necessity of delivering lower carbon industrialised economies. It is cited by many as being the ‘third industrial revolution’ but, having personally worked in power generation in several EU countries, the UK continues to be a reluctant bit part player, big on talk, lacking in delivery.

In your recent speech you stated that the UK emitted only 2% of global CO2 emissions, concluding that the UK should not lead nor act fast on this issue. YOU HAVE MISSED THE POINT. The UK’s businesses and entrepreneurs could be making billions leading the way on this huge change opportunity, yet your political outlook is to reduce and remove support, particularly for renewable energy generation, at every turn. YOU are driving the UK toward being a laggard in this respect, where is the positive leadership of your party supporting growth and a leading role for the UK in the global renewable power sector?

Particularly upsetting has been the continuing fiasco over the UK’s feed-in tariff, a mechanism used by Government's world over to drive the growth of renewable power generation. It does not cost the UK Govt. a bean, FiTs being added to household bills currently at a level of less than £1 per bill payer per year. That trivial increase has since April 2010 generated a UK Solar industry now employing 25,000 people, all paying income taxes to HM Revenue far in excess of the Govt cost of operating the scheme. No denying that the FiT rates are now high compared to the cost of Solar PV as it continues on it’s downward trajectory, and should now be reduced. But not to the extent that happened when Greg Barker reviewed mid scale Solar projects earlier this year. During that cut i personally made 40 British engineers & planners redundant and cancelled construction contracts that would have employed 500 UK construction workers. Given the 31/10/11 DECC consultation stating devastated FiT rates from 12th December, it is likely that we will see the remainder of the 25,000 people employed in the sector now made redundant. The £860M FiT budget to end March 2015 was only ever an estimate of the growth of the sector. YOU changed it into a capped (and reduced) budget and I say again, the FiT produces a NET INCOME for your government, it is NOT an expenditure.

I’d also implore you and your Government to lessen its unhealthy fixation on Nuclear power being the largest part of the UK’s strategy to a low carbon future. DECC appears to be Nuclear institutionalised, suspiciously protective of its Nuclear stance and the Committee for Climate Change appears blind (or lobbied into a corner) to what is happening now in Germany, the US, Sweden, Italy etc. In those countries post Fukushima costs of Nuclear (amongst other concerns) combined with continually falling costs of Solar PV & CSP have led to rational cost based decisions to reduce Nuclear’s role and increase Solar’s as part of the low carbon mix. In the US, grid parity is now achievable for utility scale Solar power generation, in lower Germany it is thought to be just 3yrs away. Why it is apparently OK for DECC continue to pump billions into UK Nuclear each year (as has been the case now for 50yrs), both overtly and through supportive policy, whilst renewable power is trivialised, can only be explained by entrenched positions and vested interest. You’ll shout, “5ROC support for tidal power, aren’t we green”, but really how much will that cost the Govt for the hundred Megawatts that may be built (before you reduce it) compared with the tens of thousands of Nuclear Megawatts DECC are fully behind.

I am proud to say that I am a British Engineer who has, despite Alan Sugar’s view on engineers, founded, grown and run several successful (and some not so successful) technical businesses creating UK exports, pools of technical expertise and jobs. Eight years ago I steered towards the business opportunity presented by the global shift to a lower carbon economy. Over those eight years I’ve focused on Energy, having developed sustainable biomass CHP power stations in Sweden, built agricultural energy crop supply in the UK and Eastern EU, managed 1% of the UK’s grid power on a daily basis (reducing it by 15% or 250k tonnes CO2) as Head of Energy of Tesco Plc and latterly having constructed the UK’s largest fleet of Solar PV power stations (28MW operating now generating zero carbon electricity).

For the sake of British Entrepreneurs, Engineers and citizens, please grab hold of the opportunity staring you in the face and drive the UK to become a leading player in the business opportunity of delivering a global lower carbon economy. Take an easy, immediate, no cost action by raising your ambition for Solar Power in the UK by lifting the unnecessary FiT cap- a clear cap on growth and jobs.

Yours Sincerely

Nick Pascoe

British Mechanical Engineer and Managing Director of Orta Solar Ltd