Measures to deal with a projected over-allocation of renewable energy subsidies have been announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
DECC says the measures set out yesterday (22 July) will provide better control over spending and will ensure bill payers get the best possible deal as the UK continues to move to a low-carbon economy.
Energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd said: “My priorities are clear. We need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.
“Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies. We’re taking action to protect consumers, while protecting existing investment.”
Financial support for renewable technologies primarily comes in the form of subsidies that are paid for via energy bills.
The total amount of subsidies available is capped via a mechanism called the Levy Control Framework (LCF).
The measures announced yesterday include:
- removing the guaranteed level of subsidy for biomass conversions and co-firing projects for the duration of the Renewable Obligation;
- launching a consultation on controlling subsidies for solar PV of 5MW and below under the Renewables Obligation (RO). This includes consulting on early closure and removing the guaranteed level of subsidy for the duration of the RO; and
- a consultation on changes to the preliminary accreditation rules under the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme followed by a wider review of the scheme to drive significant further savings.
The government will also:
- set out totals for the LCF beyond 2020, providing a basis for electricity investment into the next decade; and
- set out its plans in autumn in respect of future CFD allocation rounds.
The Office for Budget Responsibility’s latest projections show that subsidies raised from bills are currently set to be higher than expected when the schemes under the LCF were set up.
DECC says this is due to a number of factors such as lower wholesale electricity prices, higher than expected uptake of the demand-led Feed-in Tariffs and the Renewables Obligation (such as solar panels on roofs) and a faster than expected advancement in the efficiency of the technology, meaning renewables are projected to generate more electricity than previously projected.