Greg Barker confirms way forward for small scale renewable electricity under government scheme

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Businesses will still be able to get support for small scale renewable technologies under the Government’s Renewables Obligation (RO), Energy…

Businesses will still be able to get support for small scale renewable technologies under the Government’s Renewables Obligation (RO), Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker confirmed today.

Government had suggested looking at excluding new small scale solar, anaerobic digestion, onshore wind and hydro power installations of between 50kW and 5MW from the RO from 1 April 2013 as part of its review of support for renewable electricity between 2013-17 published in July this year. This would have meant that the RO would support renewables over 5MW, with Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) being aimed at those who invest in solar, small scale wind, anaerobic digestion and hydro power projects under 5MW in size.

Following feedback from industry in recent months, DECC has decided to keep the option of both FITs and RO open for those investing in projects between 50kW and 5MW in size.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:

“I am fully committed to spurring on growth in clean green energy generation across the nation and want to provide long term certainty for those who choose to invest.

“In light of feedback from industry on our intention to consult on the overlap between the RO and FITs we believe that now is not the time to make further changes to these schemes.

“Industry needs certainty, and keeping the current arrangements for small scale renewables as they are will help provide this assurance.”

Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association Gaynor Hartnell said:

“This decision is most definitely the right one, and will be welcomed by all those in the renewables industry. This is evidence of the Government’s willingness to listen to sensible and constructive debate, and the kind of mature working relationship we need to have.”

Chief Executive of RenewableUK Maria McCaffrey said:

“RenewableUK are pleased that Government has recognised that a number of developers taking forward commercial projects below 5MW wish to retain the option of taking forward their projects under the renewables obligation. This decision also means that we will not see a large influx of commercial developers restricted to using the feed-in tariff.”

Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association Charlotte Morton said:

“ADBA strongly welcomes this announcement, which will give confidence to anaerobic digestion plants which rely on the RO either as their primary support mechanism or as back up to progress.

“This sensible decision recognises the huge value which AD can generate for the UK with the right support: tackling climate change, providing economic growth and supporting up to 35,000 jobs.

“We are very pleased with the speed at which DECC has responded to industry concerns, and ministers’ recognition of the need for certainty to ensure investment in technologies such as AD.”

Chief Executive of the British Hydropower Association David Williams said:

“The British Hydropower Association is delighted to hear that DECC has decided to continue to make ROCs available to projects from 50kW without further consultation.

“This will remove a layer of uncertainty which would have impaired the development of hydro projects in a range critical to the realisation of achievable renewables targets. We greatly appreciate the efforts which DECC has made during this difficult year to discuss and accommodate issues with industry to achieve common goals.”

DECC will continue to work with industry and other interested parties on long term future support for small scale renewable electricity in light of the move from the Renewables Obligation to Contracts for Difference in the longer term.

Notes for editors

  1. The Renewables Obligation (RO) is the Government’s main mechanism for supporting large-scale renewables.
  2. The Feed in Tariffs (FITs) scheme helps people to invest in small-scale low-carbon electricity, in return for a guaranteed payment for the electricity they generate and use as well as a guaranteed payment for unused surplus electricity they export back to the grid.
  3. Documents relating to the Government response on the Renewables Obligation Banding Review.