Feed in Tariffs and Job Losses (July 2016)

The Government is committed to meeting 15 per cent of the UK’s energy demands from renewable resources by 2020, and FITs have led to levels of renewable energy deployment that have surpassed all expectations. I warmly welcome the success of the industry.

It is, of course, good news for the environment that renewable energy has been rolled out sooner than expected, but the extra costs associated with providing FITs are ultimately paid for by consumers through their energy bills. We would all expect the Government to ensure that these costs are kept affordable.

That is why the Government has sought views from interested parties on proposals designed to relieve the pressure on energy consumers from rising costs, to improve value for their money, and keep the costs of renewable energy policies sustainable.

I raised this matter with the Minister and suggested that a softer approach could be taken with the cuts. I would prefer that the length of term of the subsidy be reduced from 20 years to 10 years but that the Feed in Tariff remain the same. This would maintain an incentive to convert to solar energy and protect jobs within the sector.

However ultimately Government support has driven down the cost of renewable energy and technologies such as solar are continuing to see costs fall. I believe that Government support should help low-cost, low-carbon technologies to stand on their own two feet, rather than create a dependence on public subsidies. Indeed, the global transformation we need in energy will only happen if low-carbon options become cheaper, without any subsidies, than the alternative.

I regret all job losses, and my thoughts go out to those workers who are affected. However ultimately, commercial decisions are a matter for the companies involved. It is important that the priority for the Government is to continue to keep bills as low as possible for families and businesses.

July 2016