Renewable Energy

New campaign hopes to keep power with the people

The People Power campaign says proposed cuts to the solar Feed-in Tariff is putting the rural economy at risk

The People Power campaign says proposed cuts to the solar Feed-in Tariff is putting the rural economy at risk

A new campaign has been launched by the Solar Trade Association (STA) and RenewableUK to oppose the Government’s proposals to cut financial support to small-scale renewables, including solar panels.

The People Power campaign is calling for members of the public, as well as the thousands of renewable energy employees, to petition the Government to provide more stable support to growing sectors like solar by writing to their local MP.

Under the Government’s proposals, outlined in a consultation due to close on October 23, subsidies paid under the solar Feed-in Tariff are to be cut by around 87% by January 2016. DECC’s proposed changes also include a cap on new FITs expenditure of between £75-100m by 2018/19.

The People Power campaign says the plans are in danger of causing substantial job losses to the renewable energy sector and could mean a huge number of renewable energy projects would no longer go ahead.

Gemma Grimes, director of policy, consents & intelligence at RenewableUK, said: “This campaign is about sending a simple message to Government: don’t wreck an industry, which for the first time has given people the power to control their own energy supply. Small-scale renewables is an extraordinary success in the UK, creating thousands of new green jobs and allowing local communities to generate their own clean energy.

“The Feed-in Tariff provides a lifeline to the rural economy, allowing farmers and small businesses to diversify their income and save on their electricity bills, especially during tough economic times. The Government’s actions are in danger of consigning this great work to the past.”

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the STA, said: “Poll after poll shows the great majority of the public strongly supports local renewable energy. Yet Government proposals for Feed-in Tariffs are extreme and they will stop families and communities from investing locally in clean energy all over the UK. This would be an astonishing step backwards.

“To prevent this happening it is vital that people make their voice heard in Parliament right now. Individual voices are small but together we can deliver a message that Westminster cannot ignore.”

The campaign is being run through the ‘Action for Renewables’ website and can be accessed here (please link to www.actionforrenewables.org/people-power)

According to the latest figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), solar PV generation rose by almost 115% in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the 2014, far more than any other source of renewable energy. The Government claims the growing strength of the market, fuelled by the significantly lower costs associated with solar panels, has meant the sector is able to go subsidy free. It hopes that the proposed cuts will lower the overall spend on the Levy Control Framework and ultimately lower consumer energy bills.