DECC backtracks over axing RO for small arrays

4th October 2012

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Energy minister Greg Barker has confirmed that the Renewables Obligation (RO) will not be scrapped for installations generating less than 5MW

In July, when it outlined subsidy levels for the next phase of the RO, DECC stated that it was considering removing support for installations that were eligible for the feed-in tariff.

Under the proposals, solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays, anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, onshore wind turbines and hydro installations generating between 50kW and 5MW, would have been removed from the RO from April 2013.

At the time DECC stated that it was taking a “cautious approach”, in order not to over-reward certain technologies, but the suggestion was heavily criticised by representatives from the renewables sector as damaging for uptake of renewables, in particular AD.

Following the negative reaction from industry, Barker has now confirmed that DECC will not be taking its proposal any further.

“In light of feedback from industry ... we believe that now is not the time to make further changes to these schemes,” he said. “Industry needs certainty, and keeping the current arrangements for small-scale renewables as they are will help provide this assurance.”

The decision was hailed as a signal that DECC was listening to the sector.

“This decision is most definitely the right one, [and] is evidence of the government’s willingness to listen to sensible and constructive debate, and the kind of mature working relationship we need to have,” commented Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association.

Hartnell’s comments were echoed by Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association: “We are very pleased with the speed at which DECC has responded to industry concerns, and ministers’ recognition of the need for certainty to ensure investment in technologies such as AD.”

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