Feed-In-Tariff changes could put local authority projects at risk claim REA

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has warned Government plans to remove the preliminary accreditation from the Feed-in Tariff will put many renewable energy projects at risk.

The consultation on the proposed changes closed yesterday (19 August) and in its official submission to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the REA said the plans will take away the certainty of knowing what tariff a renewable project will eventually get. 

Currently, projects have the guarantee of getting the existing tariff if they pre-accredit. These changes will mean they will only qualify for the tariff at project completion, meaning they will have to gamble on what that eventual tariff will be.

The REA also questioned how a consultation with the intention of saving money be useful - without knowing how much will be saved and how. The industry has come out in force to explain that the proposals will not just slow the deployment of renewables but will in some cases, kill off sectors entirely.

“DECC needs to urgently acknowledge that removing FIT pre-accreditation and tariff guarantees will be seriously detrimental to the AD sector,” said the REA’s Head of Biogas, Dr Kiara Zennaro.

“It will considerably increase the uncertainty of tariffs due to degression and make it impossible for investors to fund development and construction. In other words, it will kill deployment, as opposed to just slow it down.”

The REA’s Solar Policy Analyst, Lauren Cook (REA) added: “The degression mechanism has been designed to bring down tariffs in line with deployment and solar is already subject to possible quarterly degressions. The option of pre-accreditation has helped projects with longer lead times secure financing based on guaranteed rates. Removing the option of pre-accreditation will hurt the areas of the industry the government has expressed support for, such as commercial and industrial rooftops."

Other losers identified by the REA will be organisations, such as community, school and local authority projects, whose internal processes make such a gamble on future rates virtually impossible to commit to renewable projects.

Head of Policy and External Affairs, James Court, said: “Many communities, local authorities and schools are wanting to do the right thing in installing renewable projects and the government have previously seen this as an area they want to support. Yet this change will severely hit any such organisation, who by their nature have longer processes. For many, this will now be a non-starter, they couldn’t take the risk.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues