Spain feed-in tariff cuts: new photovoltaic solar power plants to be chopped by up to 45%

Following the news at the close of last week that Spain was edging ever-closer to the threat of feed-in tariff cuts, the country’s industry ministry has now announced that it plans to cut the subsidized electricity prices paid to new photovoltaic solar power plants by up to 45%.QVGZrwKUXsw


Rob Such


To cut or not to cut? Spanish solar feed-in tariff saga continues

The Spanish feed-in tariff saga has moved another step towards conclusion, as the government joins solar power producers in forming an agreement for subsidy reduction and electricity price reduction, aiming at the same time to preserve the country’s renewable energy industry.ntKYl-WKNz0


Rob Such

iSuppli says UK is world’s fastest-growing market for solar

Despite module and inverter shortages and a lack of well-trained installers as well as significantly higher prices than seen in Germany, the UK solar market is claimed to be the fastest growing in the world right now. According to market research firm iSuppli, solar system installations will reach 96MW in 2010, up 1500% from barely a year ago and before the feed-in tariff (FiT) was introduced in April. In 2009, only 6MW had been installed.6a_OooJFQ-4


Rob Such

Department of Energy and Climate Change reveals £34m cuts to low-carbon tech programme

Wind, geothermal, bioenergy, and low-carbon buildings fund all have budgets cut as Whitehall faces squeeze

Details of £34m of cuts on low-carbon technology were published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today as part of £6.2bn savings across Whitehall.

The department said the Carbon Trust, which receives funding to promote the move to a low-carbon economy, would see its budget for helping green technology and businesses cut by £12.6m. There would be £1m less for developing deep geothermal energy, with the technology receiving £1m this year, DECC said.

The offshore wind capital grants scheme, which supports development of offshore wind farms, will be reduced in scope, saving £3m.

Curtailing the central government low-carbon technology programme, which aims to support efforts by Whitehall to lead the way on using low-carbon technology, would save £2.9m.

And the final funding rounds of schemes to support bio-energy, which have received £60m in investment since 2002, will be cancelled, saving £4.7m.

The Energy Saving Trust technology trials will also be closed early, saving £700,000 from the £3m programme, the department said.

Efficiency savings and under-spending on projects within the department would save £6.1m.

The department announced in May it was bringing forward the closure of the low-carbon buildings fund, which provided grants to help householders install small-scale renewables – saving £3m.

Homeowners and organisations can now take advantage of the feed-in tariff scheme which pays people for the green electricity they generate from small-scale renewables, such as solar power.

DECC, which is contributing £85m to the cross-Whitehall savings, said it would still be spending more than £150m on low-carbon technology this year.

A department spokesman said: “The whole of Whitehall is making savings; it’s only right that DECC plays its part in tackling the deficit. However, DECC will still be investing more than £150m in low-carbon technology this year.

“What’s vital is leveraging the scale of private sector investment needed – and that’s why we’re acting to bring greater certainty to the carbon price and to establish a Green Investment Bank.”

The cuts were criticised by green groups and Labour.

Ed Miliband, former climate change secretary, said: “The government is cutting support for green jobs and green industries at exactly the time we need it most. They have no plan for economic growth, just cuts. On the one hand Chris Huhne calls for a clean energy revolution but with the other he is taking away vital support that Labour delivered for green jobs and green industry. On the one hand they call for tougher carbon emissions targets but with the other they take away the means to achieve these targets.”

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, responded: “Cameron’s promises of this government being the greenest ever are beginning to crumble in the light of the Department of Energy and Climate Change cuts. We have the opportunity to grasp the industries of tomorrow in renewable energy, electric vehicles and energy-efficient business but we need government action not words.”

Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), added: “These cuts are obviously bad news for some of our member companies. These announcements could have been tempered by reassurance that Government understands the industry’s need for a clear framework moving forward. There are some key positive announcements industry is keenly awaiting on biomass and anaerobic digestion, and reassurance that the future framework for renewable heat will enable businesses to plan in the absence of grants.”

Last month, figures published by the DECC revealed that energy supplied by renewable sources, such as wind and hydro, dropped this winter, despite years of promises and policies to end the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and slash emissions. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Rob Such

German feed-in tariff saga concludes with compromise

German lawmakers have today (July 9) approved the easing of solar subsidy cuts for three months, lessening the blow by three percentage points until the end of September. The proposal has now been passed by a committee of both houses of parliament, changing the government plan to cut subsidies for solar power fed into Germany’s electricity grid by 16% for rooftop equipment, 15% for farmland and 11% for spaces such as former industrial or military sites.w6Aphq2o1Qk


Rob Such

UK will miss carbon emissions targets ‘unless government takes urgent action’

Committee on Climate Change says policies required within next year to reform electricity market and home efficiency

The new coalition government must introduce a string of climate policies over the next twelve months or risk Britain missing its legally binding targets to cut carbon emissions, ministers were warned yesterday.

David Kennedy, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said action was needed in four key areas. He said policies should be brought forward to reform the electricity market, and to make homes more energy efficient. Ministers need to protect efforts to encourage the development of electric cars and introduce measures to bring down the carbon footprint of UK farmers, he added.

“We’ve had a light-touch approach in the UK, we’ve talked a good game but what we’ve seen is emissions haven’t fallen,” Kennedy said. “We need to do something different. What we have to do isn’t news and is becoming very well known.”

Lord Turner, chair of the committee, said the recession has created the illusion that the UK is tackling climate change, but substantial declines in emissions are almost entirely the result of lower economic activity in the last year.

While greenhouse gases fell by 8.6% last year, only a fraction of that was the result of measures to tackle climate change such as renewable energy or making homes more energy efficient.

The second annual progress report from the government’s advisory committee repeated the call it made last year step up efforts to drive down emissions, in order to meet targets to cut greenhouse gases.

Kennedy said some loft and cavity wall insulation was put in last year, while there was a “little bit” of investment in renewables, but efforts needed to be ramped up over the next five to 10 years.

He said continuing to implement green measures at the pace seen in 2009 would mean “we won’t deliver the carbon budgets”.

He said the coalition agreement contained positive pledges to make homes greener, to introduce a floor in the price companies pay for emitting polluting carbon, and emissions performance standards for power stations to drive investment in clean energy.

“These commitments are at the moment good intentions. What we need is to translate these into crunchy policies in power, buildings, transport and agriculture,” he said. “The test of this government will be the policies they put in place over the next year or two. If we’re going to see this step-change actually happen in two to three years, when it needs to happen, we’ve got to have the policies in place in the next year or so.”

Peter Young, the chairman of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We welcome the committee’s headline message that greater urgency is needed to meet carbon budgets. A number of the priorities identified by the committee are also commitments in the coalition agreement, such as electricity market reform and the implementation of a carbon floor price. Prompt action will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but will be vital for the economic recovery, boosting growth, jobs and competitiveness.”

Andy Atkins, the head of Friends of the Earth, said: “It’s extremely disturbing that, despite a similar warning from the committee last year, the recent fall in UK emissions is mainly due to the recession. This report is further evidence of the need to build our future prosperity on safe, green foundations.”

Yesterday, the government abolished the Infrastructure Planning Commission, a quango with the power to approve major infrastructure projects set up last year by the previous Labour administration to fast track large projects, such as nuclear power stations and offshore wind farms.

Decentralisation minister Greg Clark said: “New infrastructure is critical to the country’s return to economic growth and we believe we must have a fast track system for major projects – but it must be accountable. The previous system lacked any democratic legitimacy by giving decision making power away to a distant quango.”

Replacing the IPC will be the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit, in which ministers will make the decisions on projects.

Gaynor Hartnell, the chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association welcomed the move but added: “The vast majority of renewable energy projects are smaller than 50MW and therefore will not benefit directly from these reforms. We need rapid and consistent decision making for projects approved by local authorities that strikes the balance between local accountability and strategic national priorities.”

David Adam © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Rob Such