Planned cuts to Feed-in Tariffs are a further short-sighted attack on renewables industry

Responding to the government’s consultation on the review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme, Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South-West, has slammed the government over its policies on renewable energy.

Dr Scott Cato, the Green Party’s Finance Spokesperson, said planned cuts to feed-in tariffs are part of a wider attack on the renewables sector, which threatens thousands of jobs and is sending shock waves through a successful and growing industry.

The Solar Trade Association has estimated that the jobs of up to 27,000 people in the solar energy sector (out of a total of 35,000) could be at risk due to the proposed 87% cut to the domestic feed-in tariff for solar energy.

The consultation closes on 23 October.

Dr Scott Cato said:

“The Feed in Tariff (FIT) has been a great success. It has enabled hundreds of thousands of homes, communities and businesses to generate their own energy and has led to the price of solar power reducing to a point where it is possible to imagine it competing without subsidy in the near future. But the government proposals for dramatic cuts in the FiT risks bringing this success story to a sudden halt. Rather than celebrating the contribution this will make to combatting climate change, the government seems intent on destroying an industry which has so much to offer the UK in terms of job creation, security of energy supply, and low-carbon generation.

“The proposals also cast serious doubt over the Government’s commitment to tackling climate change and undermine David Cameron’s credibility further in the run-up to the COP 21 climate talks in Paris.”

Scott Cato added: “The renewable energy industry now employs an estimated 112,000 people in the UK and we have around 3,000 accredited businesses installing solar PV alone – all will now be unsure of their future. I urge the Government to do everything necessary to ensure the industry remains stable and that investor confidence is maintained.”

Greens argue support should be given until the country achieves 100% of energy needs from renewables. They call for subsidies for renewables to be matched by reductions in subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear.

In The Guardian, Howard Johns recounts the madness of Government decisions (The Government seems intent on ending the solar power industry. It’s madness  – Comment is free).

Howard Johns says, “If the government truly cared about hardworking families, then it would be supporting the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries fully, rather than shutting them down at short notice. The only real way to permanently stabilise bills is to use less fossil energy and generate our own renewable local power. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs to be had here if done right.”

He contrasts the £billions being offered to the nuclear industry, foreign state-owned companies at that, with the way our own industries are treated. It is easy to understand the anger he claims. “Contrast that with the billions of pounds being offered to Chinese and French state-owned nuclear firms to build the Hinkley C nuclear facility and you will understand why people in the sector are angry”, he comments.

It could be that what the Government really fears is that subsidies to the solar industry would truly set hardworking families free from the clutches of giant power companies. Better that the Government puts taxpayers money into the big corporations, that way their wealthy friends will reap the benefits from profits and dividends. Let’s face it, the last thing the Tories want is working people who truly benefiting.

Howard Johns

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One Comment

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