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Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

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Is Greg Barker looking for other ways to incentivise solar?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 June 2011 at 2:01 pm

Greg Barker (minister for climate change) probably thought he was having a nice night off when he agreed to help present a prize at this year's Observer Ethical Awards. But when I saw him heading in my direction I couldn’t resist putting a question or two to him. He must have had a long day justifying the cuts in the feed-in tariff for larger solar projects announced last week – and there I was asking about it again.

I can’t get too worked up about the cuts in rates for MW-sized installations, but I do think it’s a tragedy that opportunities for local community schemes have been lost. Not only are these the Big Society in action, but they also engage many more people in the shift to more renewable energy than individual installations will ever do. Added to that, they do it in a more cost effective way. But for local energy service companies, co-ops and other organisations to grow and thrive, they have to have a commercially viable business model.

Speaking to Greg Barker about that, I came to the conclusion that the Solar Trade Association is right when it asserted that DECC is in thrall to the Treasury. I came away with the impression that there’s no way there’s going to be more money available for solar through the feed-in tariff, however much campaigning goes on.

The only small glimmer of hope is that Barker said 'we need to find other ways to incentivise solar’. Let’s hope that he and DECC colleagues are working hard on doing just that.

Oh yes, we are delighted to be a runner-up in the ethical blog category of the Observer Ethical awards. The winner in our category was ethical fashion blog Shirahime.

Photo: DECCgovuk

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Gilberte Detrick

Gilberte DetrickComment left on: 6 January 2016 at 7:25 am

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FrancisMcN

FrancisMcNComment left on: 13 June 2011 at 9:39 pm

Another illustration of the way DECC is under the Treasury's thumb  is the abolition next year of the Enterprise Investment Scheme tax-break for investors in renewable projects that get FiTs.  According to a recent Parliamentary Question, this is because such projects "aren't high enough risk to justify EIS".  From my experience with a community wind project the only thing that isn't risky is the FiT!

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