Reaction to the government’s feed in tariff cuts
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP
“I welcome the fact that the government has rowed back slightly on these cuts but these measures will still be deeply damaging. Rather than really rethinking these disastrous and deeply unpopular plans, ministers will inflict serious damage on an industry which creates thousands of jobs and is a vital part of a zero carbon future.
“The government’s strong words on climate change ahead of the Paris summit are being revealed to be nothing short of bluster and spin. Ministers happily take credit for being climate champions on an international stage while flagrantly undermining the renewable industry here at home.
“Solar is popular and cost effective – and the price is rapidly dropping. To cut support at this stage not only dashes hopes of Britain leading the way in meeting the 1.5 degree target set in Paris last week, but also risks putting thousands of people of of work.”
Lisa Nandy, shadow energy secretary and Labour MP
These short-sighted cuts will place big limits on our solar industry and lead to job losses 1/3
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) December 17, 2015
These cuts stand in stark contrast to the generous handouts Ministers recently announced to dirty diesel generators 2/3
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) December 17, 2015
At a time when energy bills are a big concern it makes no sense to limit one of the cheapest forms of clean energy 3/3
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) December 17, 2015
Paul Barwell, cheif executive at the Solar Trade Association
“Government has partially listened. It’s not what we needed, but it’s better than the original proposals, and we will continue to push for a better deal for what will inevitably be a more consolidated industry with fewer companies.
“However, in a world that has just committed to strengthened climate action in Paris and which sees solar as the future, the UK government needs to get behind the British solar industry. Allocating only around 1% of its clean power budget to new solar is too little, particularly when solar is now so cost-effective. Poor ambition for solar risks missing out on not only our renewable energy targets in the UK, but on the world’s greatest economic opportunity too.”
“The industry will certainly try its hardest but we will be pressing government to do much more to boost solar power.”
Reza Shaybani, chairman of the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA):
“The announcements made today shows that due to our hard lobbying the Government has listened to the sensible arguments, facts and figures we have put forward as an industry. This was a very hard set of discussions with ministers & department and there was huge inflexibility at the beginning. While it is not a perfect scenario, but it is better than what was proposed. Clearly there has been some movement from the draconian proposals in September in particular, some thought the £100 m would not be extra money after January but now it is and the original proposal on caps has been changed.
“In my view this should be a wakeup call for the industry to start working on business models where we don’t rely on subsidies any longer. The combination of solar and energy storage will deliver that in not too distant future. There is going to be a big discussion in government about battery storage and that will be a big debate in 2016.”
Jenny Jones, Green Party London Assembly member
“The Government’s savage cuts to solar tariffs are a betrayal of the Paris Climate Change agreement. They are directly responsible for every job and business that goes under, which in London could mean the loss of 1,500 solar jobs in mostly small businesses”
“This decision is cynical and reckless and undermines our attempts here in London to secure the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are needed to prevent irreversible runaway climate change and the rapid switch that is needed to clean renewable such as solar, alongside wind and tidal”
“Renewables are the casualty in the Government’s longstanding intention to clear a path for extortionately priced nuclear energy and fracked oil and gas that will just accelerate climate change”
Matt Sheldon, CBI Head of Energy and Climate Change, said:
“While less sharp than anticipated, the cuts to feed-in tariffs are still severe. Recent changes to the policy framework in the UK have fostered uncertainty for investors in renewable technologies. This is a real concern as we look to develop a balanced mix to delivery secure, affordable and clean energy for the UK.”
Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South
— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis) December 17, 2015
Barbara Stoll, Greenpeace UK energy campaigner:
“Bowing to pressure from the public and leading businesses, the government has swapped a blunt axe for a sharp scalpel, but it’s still cutting in the wrong place.
“If built, one nuclear plant at Hinkley will swallow up four years’ worth of subsidies for the whole solar sector in just one month. Why are ministers signing a blank cheque for expensive, outdated nuclear power whilst pinching pennies for an energy source on the cusp of a massive investment boom? This makes no economic sense and will only put up bills in the long run.
“With costs falling, demand rising, and post-Paris momentum growing, the UK solar sector will see off the government’s attacks. The question is how many more jobs, investments, and business opportunities are we wasting because of George Osborne’s incoherent policies.
Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury & SolarAid:
Adopt a climate treaty one week. Kneecap for your solar industry the next. Must be interesting to have a certain kind of Conservative mind.
— Jeremy Leggett (@JeremyLeggett) December 17, 2015
Dr Nina Skorupska, cheif exeuctive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA):
“From where we were after the initial consultation this is a real improvement and praise has to be given to DECC ministers in their willingness to listen and change.
“The past six months have been challenging for our members and the renewables industry, but we now have to draw a line and turn our attention to building a stable, robust and enduring industry leading to a business built without subsidy.”
James Court, head of policy and external affairs at REA:
“The government have taken on board many of the common-sense suggestions from the REA and wider industry, such as bringing back pre-accreditation for long lead schemes, reallocating budgets from under deployed technologies and increasing deployment caps for solar.
“The tariffs are still very challenging and whilst the changes will help save some in the industry it remains that many will be exiting. But this is an improvement, and may still provide the base to get to post-subsidy.”
Jimmy Aldridge, senior research fellow at IPPR:
“While slightly less extreme than expected, the cuts to solar subsidies that the government announced today still represent a 65% reduction in support for one of the cheapest forms of clean energy available. It is absolutely right that government should seek to control costs and provide value for money for householders. However, this cut to solar supprt come just a week after £175m was awarded to support diesel generation, the most polluting of all forms of energy.
“The right decision today would have been a smaller cut for solar and other clean technologies, paid for by a reorientation of support away from polluting sources such as diesel.”
David Hunt, managing partner at Hyperion Executive Search
“Not sure what impact this will have on jobs, certainly better than it could have been. Positive news from this government in the same way if you haven’t eaten for a week cheese and crackers is a glorious meal!”
Jan-Willem Bode, chief executive of Mongoose Energy:
“By preparing us for the worst possible scenario and then climbing down slightly, it feels like they’re trying to make bad news look good.
“The industry needs to be subsidy free in the long term, and can do it in the medium term. Mongoose is big enough that it probably won’t affect us, but the announcement will have consequences [for] both the smaller players in the community energy market and the renewables industry in general.
“The FIT has, in the government’s words, ‘been hugely successful in attracting investment’ for renewables – and it has played a vital part in helping to slash the cost per unit of solar energy. But the FIT needs to be more than just a way to get people to invest in tiny projects if we are to meet the commitments that we agreed to in Paris [at COP21], to maintain energy security and diversity.”
Juliet Davenport OBE, chief executive of Good Energy:
“The new measures are a slight improvement on the original proposals but still mean that installing solar panels will no longer be attractive to British home-owners and the changes will also make it harder for housing associations and councils to use FIT to help those in fuel poverty.
“Just last week, world leaders agreed to ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions. The UK government really needs to get behind new low carbon technology and take a global lead in seizing the new opportunities.”
James Mclinden, CEO of the Global Group based in Carlisle:
“The only positive to take from today’s announcement for homeowners is that the cuts are not as deep as first feared. However the Government still appears committed to reducing support for the industry despite growing evidence that solar power is popular with consumers and makes a real contribution to meeting the country’s energy needs.
“Like many in the industry, we were already prepared for significant Government cuts and so today’s announcement will have little impact on our business. The effect of removing solar subsidies has been to reduce incentives for new residential installations but there are real opportunities for businesses like ours to focus on providing long term solar maintenance services to households and commercial properties. There is still a lot of life left in solar energy – despite Government interventions.”
Graham Ayling, head of foundation at the Energy Saving Trust:
“In September we asked for the government to maintain the FiT over the course of this parliament and develop a longer term plan to phase out support gradually. Therefore, we welcome this response in that it will provide greater stability to the sector and give investors and manufacturers more time to plan.
“The more worrying thing is the deployment caps, which just feel like a limit on ambition at a time when we should be scaling up to grid parity. This level of deployment is considerably below what’s been done under FIT in the last few years [and] represents a significant scaling back of ambition.
“Renewables are the future of energy generation, but there is an air of unreality between what was agreed in Paris last weekend and renewable energy policy today. The playing field is not level and these changes are wilfully drawing support away from renewable energy and towards nuclear and fossil fuels.”
Amy Cameron, Keep FiT campaign manager for 10:10:
“Post Paris, the bar has been set pretty high and to be honest, with this announcement it looks like UK still isn’t getting it.
“A huge public outcry in the face of proposed cuts has led to some concessions being made and that’s a good thing. With the the re-introduction of pre-accreditation, vital for community energy, we’re particularly grateful that there’s some backpedaling on the suggestion that energy policy needs to be boring. But small wins for some wont play fig leaf to bad or absent energy policy across the board. Never mind special treatment, we’re going to need to see a raft of other support mechanisms if government simply wants to give clean energy a level playing field against hugely subsidised nuclear and fracking.
“With the current dearth of energy policy in the UK, this announcement feels like the arrival of a weird uncle at an empty party. You’re pleased someone is here, but you think you could have done a lot better than this…”