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UK Government urged to reconsider its Feed-in-Tariff proposals for alternative energy

November 9, 2011 1:52 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has added his voice to calls for the Westminster Government to reconsider its recent announcement of a reduction in Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs): the price that is paid to people who generate their own electricity and sell the surplus back to the National Grid.

Under the current Feed-in-Tariffs scheme, those who fit solar panels to existing properties can sell any surplus power back to the Grid for 43.3p/KWh. The Government is proposing to reduce this rate to 21p/KWh for installations registered and fitted after 12th December, 2011.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrat Group in the Assembly are concerned that this proposed change will undermine the Government's commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and the promotion of renewable energy," said Mr. Black. "It could act as a major disincentive for families and those who run community facilities to fit solar panels, and seriously jeopardises the UK's ability to reach its renewable energy targets."

"I am also concerned at the impact of these changes on local jobs. One Swansea-based electrical company who contacted me expressed serious concerns about the speed with which this change is being implemented. He said that the backlash from customers has been massive already; with many cancelling, and requesting refund of their deposits. At the same time, his company are attempting to secure two to three times the proposed levels of stock, to allow them to get through as many customers as possible within the time allocated. He did not know if the company would survive the week."

"There is no doubt that the FITs scheme has been a victim of its own success, with nearly three times as many applications received than anticipated, making the initial rates unsustainable in the medium to long term. However, I believe that by making this premature announcement, while the consultation on FITs reform is still underway, the UK Government is risking our long term renewable energy requirements for short term savings. The Government needs to rethink and I very much welcome the fact that the Welsh Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, William Powell has written to Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, to urge him to reconsider."