New ROC bandings delayed by wind debate

18th July 2012


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IEMA

DECC has further postponed announcing future subsidy levels under the Renewables Obligation, as Treasury pushes for deeper cuts to support for onshore wind

The energy department had been expected to confirm the number of RO certificates (ROCs) available to different renewable technologies from April next year ahead of parliament’s summer recess, but no announcement was made at its last sitting yesterday (17 July).

The renewable energy sector has been awaiting confirmation of subsidy levels for the 2013-2017 phase of the scheme since the closure of a DECC consultation in January, which proposed doubling support for marine technologies, while cutting the number of ROCs available for wind, solar photovoltaic, geothermal, hydro-electric and energy-from-waste installations.

On 6 June the department announced it expected to be able to reveal the new bandings “shortly”, but confirmation has not been forthcoming as Treasury and DECC ministers clash over support levels for onshore wind. Under DECC’s proposals subsidies for onshore wind would be cut by 10% over the period, while the chancellor is said to want much tougher cuts.

Representatives from the renewables sector reacted to the delay by calling on the government to urgently decide what levels of subsidies will be available, warning that the protracted delay is “immensely damaging” to the sector and its ability to secure investment.

“This delay is the most serious yet. Developers need certainty and soon,” commented Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association.

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of wind and marine trade body RenewableUK, argued that it would be unacceptable to delay the decision until ministers returned from their summer break. “Any further delay could have a devastating impact on investor confidence, job creation and the deployment of clean energy,” she warned.

Meanwhile, shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, said: “It is ridiculous that just days after the energy secretary told parliament he would make a ‘very good’ announcement ‘shortly’, a crucial decision on support for clean energy has been delayed because of rows in government.”

While DECC has not confirmed when it expects to announce the bandings, energy secretary Ed Davey told the energy and climate change committee yesterday (17 July) they would be announced “as soon as possible”.

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