Case law: Defeat for Decc in the Court of Appeal on feed-in tariffs

29th May 2015


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  • Energy ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Renewable

Author

Joao Baptista

LexisPSL experts on defeat for Decc in the Court of Appeal on feed-in tariffs

Decc loses appeal on solar feed-in tariffs

In Decc v Breyer Group [2015], the Court of Appeal dismissed the energy department’s appeal and the claimants’ cross-appeal in relation to the 2011 government consultation to reduce feed-in tariffs (FITs). As a result, Decc could be liable to compensate solar photovoltaic (PV) companies for the impact the proposal had on their business. The decision may also have wider implications for public bodies consulting on proposals that affect the value of individuals’ land and businesses.

Decc introduced the FIT scheme in 2010 to support small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies, including solar PV, by making payments to FIT generators. In February 2011, it announced a review of the scheme, primarily because demand was far greater than expected. In October, Decc issued a consultation, which included a proposal to bring forward the date by which installations had to be commissioned or registered to qualify for the original (43.3 p/kWh) tariff. Decc never implemented the proposal, opting instead to reduce the generation tariff to 21 p/kWh from 1 April 2012 for solar PV installations, with eligibility dates on or after 3 March 2012.

By this time many of the installations that would have met the deadline had been abandoned. Several businesses affected by the proposal brought a civil claim against Decc for damages under the European Convention on Human Rights, claiming that the proposal interfered with their right to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions – for example, contracts for solar PV installations or marketable goodwill constituted by or referable to those contracts.

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