In May we echoed many peoples wariness about the potential impact of the new majority Conservative government on climate change and green policies.
The chickens are now coming home to roost and support for renewables is being chipped away on the spurious grounds of impact on consumers’ energy bills. Friends of the Earth was one of many highlighting the huge fossil fuel and nuclear subsidies already paid for by the public.
In fact rather than adding to energy costs, renewables are already reducing them – and should be our future route to lower marginal costs for electricity generation in the UK.
With its latest proposals to end support for small-scale solar farms and pre-accredition for the Feed-in Tariff, the government is undermining one of the UK’s most successful industries and seems to be at odds with both the Community Energy Strategy and the UK’s commitment to meet Climate Change Targets. This is worrying in the lead up to the Paris Climate Change talks and is a stark contrast to the bold statements from President Obama this week.
We need stable investment climate
These moves come hard on the heels of previous cuts to large-scale solar subsidies, changes to the FIT and planning policies for wind projects. Whether you are a large institutional investor with millions to invest on behalf of a pension fund, or an individual wanting to support a local community energy project, clear, stable policies are needed and we have seen nothing of that recently.
Community energy schemes have the potential to transform our energy system, by putting the power back in the hands of local people and creating local green power that could eventually be supplied directly to local residents – challenging the hegemony of Big Six energy companies.
But the changes the government is proposing will dampen and may end up drowning the burgeoning community energy industry. The removal of the pre-accreditation for FIT is crucial for giving confidence to community groups developing their schemes as well as investors.
Take action now
The government is consulting on its proposals so if you care about community energy, now is the time to make your voice heard.
Friends of the Earth and the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) are among the many groups calling for their supporters to take action.
Ethex also wants you to back community energy, the most popular positive investment category on our website, and we’ll be submitting our own response to the consultation.
Friends of the Earth have created a simple feedback tool which you can access here:
Or, read the full consultation on pre accreditation and submit your response here:
For the changes to financial support to small scale solar, you can respond here:
You can also write to your MP by letter or email. Find your MP by clicking here:
For both consultations, the Government is seeking broad input from both industry and consumers. Don’t be part of the silent majority – please speak up for community energy and make sure your voice is heard.