Sheffield Renewables Response to the Consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariff

Sheffield Renewables has submitted a response to the government’s consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariff, which proposes drastic cuts to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), potentially removing them altogether. A link to the full document (23 pages!) is at the bottom of this page.

Sheffield Renewables feels very strongly that the FiTs need to be preserved in order assist the transition to cleaner, sustainable energy generation. Not only do the proposed changes threaten this transition, they also put at risk thousands of jobs, and potentially stop additional investment in the sector of around £100 billion by 2020.

The FiT changes could led to the collapse of renewable industry in the UK. It also goes directly against public opinion, as we demonstrated in this extract from our response,

‘In DECC’s Public Attitude Tracker, Wave 12, clearly demonstrates a clear and ongoing support for renewable energy. As the summary section for renewable energy states:

‘RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES: continue to receive high levels of support, over three quarters of UK adults (76%) support the use of renewables to generate electricity, fuel and heat in the UK, a similar proportion to September 2014 (78%) and December 2013 (77%).

  • Level of support for individual renewable energy sources also remain stable to that reported in September 2014; off-shore wind (74%), onshore wind (68%), wave and tidal (74%) and solar (81%). Support for biomass represents a slight increase at 65%, up from 60% in December 2013’

The proposed cuts strongly contradict public opinion. In contrast to this, in the same Public attitude tracker it states that Shale gas has the support of 24% of people surveyed, while 34% support the use of nuclear energy. Government energy policy must reflect the wishes of the public. The public have entrusted the government to act on their wishes, yet government policy does not currently reflect this.’

Our main summaries from our response are;

  • We strongly disagree with the proposed reduction, or complete removal for the Feed-in Tariff.
  • We dispute the validity of the Parsons Brinckerhoff report that DECC have used to help form their proposed revisions of the Feed-in Tariff, with many of the figures stated in the report being unrepresentative of each technology and fundamentally incorrect.
  • We completely disagree that spending of the Feed-in Tariff is unsustainable, It is unsustainable to risk so many jobs and investment, and will cost the government more in the long run. The FiT is a tiny expenditure considering that it secures tens of thousands of jobs and supports community schemes, such as those developed by Sheffield Renewables. The cost of climate change will be astronomical in comparison to the small investment required to help combat it, saving trillions of pounds in the future.
  • We do not agree with the proposed degression pathways or caps, they are unfair and not evidence based. They will only hamper the industry’s move to a subsidy free state.

The reasons to preserve subsidies for renewable energy are vast. There are so many facts, figures, and arguments for keeping FiTs that we could have doubled our response, already standing at 23 pages long! Unfortunately we also have day jobs at Sheffield Renewables. Our volunteers have spent a substantial amount of time formulating this response and we hope that it covers the main arguments. As well as going some way to persuading the government to do the right thing, for the environment, the economy, jobs and investment, to name just a few.

Sheffield Renewables FiT con response