Government’s green integrity called into question
The Government is in danger of damaging its green energy credentials and its business credibility by effectively pulling the plug on large scale projects to harvest solar energy - according to landowners in the Midlands.
The comments follow the Government's emergency review of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for solar photovoltaics - the mechanism which guarantees a premium for green energy – and Energy Minister, Greg Barker's proposed reduction in the financial support for installations of more than 50 kilowatts
CLA West Midlands director Caroline Bedell says landowners and businesses across the region have committed hundreds of thousands of pounds to projects aimed at delivering renewable energy from the sun on the back of Government promises that the FiTs would remain in place and unchanged until April 2012.
The CLA says the U-turn on solar energy will undermine confidence and make the job of attracting investment into future renewable initiatives far more difficult.
Mrs Bedell said that people had invested time and expertise - as well as hard cash - on the back of Government promises to maintain Feed in Tariffs until April next year.
"This reversal will deliver a severe blow to the Government's green energy integrity. A more workable solution would have been to continue to pay the existing rates for solar PV at all scales to those who connect and register for the Feed-in Tariff by April 2012."
"That could have been achieved without causing the imbalance in the support available under the FIT which the minister appears so concerned about," said Mrs Bedell.
"The CLA has been lobbying for an increase in the level of funding for the last year. Farm-based anaerobic digestion units offer the option of driving down agriculture's carbon emissions, delivering cheap, sustainable energy and other wider benefits to the rural economy. However, the additional penny per kilowatt the Government has proposed is simply not enough to make a significant difference to the numbers of farm-scale plants coming forward."
The CLA had, she said, been arguing the case for renewable resources for a decade seeking to convince the Government that woodlands could play a significant role in securing sustainable, renewable and reliable energy.
"The Renewable Heat Incentive is very close to the scheme we have advised Government to put into operation which is a real victory for the CLA's long-term thinking and lobbying.
"Renewable heat displaces carbon intensive fuels such as oil and coal. It helps drive sustainable woodland management, delivering wood as fuel in a process that enriches biodiversity and contributes to rural employment and income," she said.
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Caroline Bedell MRICS FAAV
Caroline leads the Midlands team and has overall responsibility for the management of the CLA’s regional business and membership.
A qualified Chartered Surveyor respected throughout the industry, she also represents the CLA on a wide range of regional committees and panels.
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