Renewables subsidy guarantee to be axed, Rudd says

10th September 2015

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Andrew Hunter

Pre-accreditation of feed-in tariffs for small-scale renewable energy projects is to be axed despite massive opposition, the government has confirmed.

Pre-accreditation, which allows developers to lock in the subsidy rate for small-scale renewable energy projects before applying for planning or environmental permits, will be abolished from 1 October. The energy and climate department (Decc) claimed the move would provide better control over spending and keep energy bills low.

Energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd said: "My priorities are clear: we need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way."

Only 16 out of 2,372 responses to the consultation were in favour of ending FIT pre-accreditation, according to Decc's response to the consultation.

The consultation process had been heavily criticised by the renewables industry and environmental groups for lasting only four weeks and lacking an impact assessment. Decc dismissed these complaints, saying that the consultation only contained four questions, and that it considered the information it had provided to be adequate.

Many responses to the consultation suggested that pre-accreditation should be kept open for certain groups, such as communities wishing to set up their own local energy schemes. Decc said it will consider reintroducing pre-accreditation either for all projects or for specific groups as part of its wider review of the FIT scheme.

This is currently under consultation and could see the scheme closed entirely from January.

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said: "The government has simply ignored the overwhelming opposition from across the renewables industry and beyond. Renewables are all about giving power to the people - this is going in the opposite direction."

However, manufacturing body EEF said that it was right that steps were taken to control the cost of the scheme. Richard Warren, EEF's senior energy policy adviser at EEF, said: "Even with significant cost reductions recently achieved, the FIT scheme reduced carbon at an eye-watering rate of £380 per tonne last year."


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