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What we want for Christmas from Santa (aka Greg Barker)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 December 2011 at 11:07 am

This week has got progressively worse and worse for DECC (the department for energy and climate change) as all its green policies came under fire.

First, Adair Turner, the chair of the Committee on Climate Change published an open letter to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne criticising the low ambition of the Green Deal and calling for it to be strengthened.

Yesterday, the High Court found that setting the cut off date for the reduction of feed-in tariffs before the end of the consultation was legally flawed, and agreed that Friends of the Earth, Solar Century and HomeSun could take it to judicial review.

Today, the Energy and Climate Change and Environmental Audit Committees have published a damning report on the process and proposals in the solar feed-in tariff review and consultation.

They describe it as unfair, damaging investor confidence and lacking social justice. They also point to inadequate impact assessments, with important decisions, such as capping the budget, not based on sufficient analysis.

On the one hand we are delighted that the criticisms that we and many others have made have been so thoroughly endorsed by both the High Court and two House of Commons committees. However, we believe that it's very important that the inevitable period of uncertainty that is going to follow it is as short as possible.

DECC says it's going to appeal. That's a pity. It will subject the industry to an extended period of limbo, and leave consumers unable to make good decisions. In the face of overwhelming evidence that the process is flawed, why don't ministers hold up their hands, apologise, read the responses to the consultation, and design something much better?

For a start we think they should:

  • uncap the feed-in tariff budget
  • set a generous community tariff
  • drop the requirement for buildings to reach EPC level C
  • and extend the reference date to, at the very minimum, let everyone who had made a contractual financial commitment to install solar panels before the announcement of the review (on 31 October) do so at the existing tariff rate.
That would be a truly excellent Christmas present.

Photo by Kevin Dooley


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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3 comments - read them below or add one

Alban Thurston

Alban ThurstonComment left on: 23 January 2012 at 4:05 pm

Point by point, I couldn't agree more, Cathy. Three weeks on from your post above, and notwithstanding DECC publishing on 18 January its win-or-lose scenarios for future FiT rates whenever the Court of Appeal declares its verdict, the fact remains that DECC has behaved atrociously & ineptly all through 2011, sowing as much uncertainty into UK microgeneration for as long as it could.   DECC's decision to appeal its judicial review defeat was petulant & un-cooperative, its shrill rhetoric of defending budgets has been hyperbolic & near-mendacious.  One might almost surmise ministers was out to throttle independent power generation. But that's exactly the outcome desired by the Big Six. After all, 50 of their staff have been on full-time secondment with the UK's energy ministry in the past year or so.    With fully 24% of Germany's electricity flowing now from non-corporate edge-of-grid microgeneration, prices being forced lower & cities like Munich contemplating 100% renewable power by only 2020, a rational, co-operative FIT regime for the UK will be the last thing the Big Six want here.    Germany civil servants also showed blind, misguided faith in Big Electricity's interests, before the pioneering 2000 Renewable Energy Act democratised the market, and broke a rigged market.    UK energy policy lags ten years behind, taken hostage by corporate interests, aided by imagination-bereft ministers & civil servants.  

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Fred1Comment left on: 24 December 2011 at 6:07 pm

I understand that the Energy Secretary is possibly to launch a new

initiative to reduce carbon emissions from cars in 2012.

I believe it is to be called " The keep to the speed limit initiative "

Aparently this initiative will also  cut down on the number of newspapers sold.

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David Hunt

David Hunt from Comment left on: 22 December 2011 at 11:29 am

Absolutely right!  Our thoughts are on exactly these lines.

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