Saturday, 3 December 2011

FIT to drop! Solar PV - A question of priorities

A ground mounted PV install in Brockholes where I live.
Will the flag be at half mast on the 12th of December when the FIT rate drops?

Somehow I can’t separate in my mind the cuts in Solar PV tariffs from other unrelated news items other than they are all outpourings of policy announcements from Government.

The basic mantra from Climate Change Minister Greg Barker is ‘Solar PV is expensive, the tariffs are unaffordable, capital costs are dropping so fast that the FIT is overgenerous that’s why we are cutting it. Its times not right yet for mass deployment, it’s a regressive tax on energy bills and adversely affects the fuel poor. Its like the poll tax and we all know how unpopular that was!’

This line doesn’t stand a lot of examination but it represents their expressed views and it would seem that DECC have pulled the drawbridge up on this one and are sticking their fingers in their ears to reasoned argument. So given it only cost a few million last year, the equivalent of 30p on the average energy bill what other things have the government been spending our money on? Well there’s the £600 million for Free Schools, a totally unnecessary support for a new school system usually parent led which will run parallel and in addition to local authority schools. There was the £250 million by Eric Pickles offered to councils to recommence weekly bin collections which actually nobody is much bothered about. Then there’s all the money for new infrastructure projects that has been announced this week. All this yet solar PV a technology that has been made available for the fuel rich and the fuel poor, that can be quickly deployed, that significantly reduces fuel cost and carbon emissions is regarded as too expensive (it isn’t). It simply doesn’t add up as an argument. You can’t really believe that they believe it. When we are talking about expanding nuclear generation this is couched in the terms of energy security and there’s no real reference to the impact on energy bills. The same arguments could be used for solar PV but they aren’t. So what is really going on? I’ll stick my neck out and say that it must be lobbying from the energy generators and suppliers. How would you feel if your monopoly over the provision of electricity was under threat from millions of people sticking solar panels on their roofs and then you have to pay them for the privilege. I’ve heard no mutterings, I have no proof but given the government’s position on FITs isn’t really credible this seems like a believable explanation. DECC Ministers may wag their fingers at the suppliers and generators but ultimately they’re going to need them to pursue their energy ambitions for new nuclear. May lord have mercy on us all!

No comments:

Post a Comment