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Government Comes Under Fire as Solar Subsidies Are Cut

December 18, 2015
Environmental Protection

Just days after they backed the world agreement to keep global temperature rises well below 2C, the government have announced a reduction of 65% to the feed in tariff scheme for energy generated by small scale renewables.

Ministers say the cut is necessary to curb the rising cost of green energy on consumer bills, while opponents have branded the move as ‘misguided.’ The original intention was to reduce the existing amount of 12.47p per kilowatt hour by 87% but in a last minute turn around Energy Secretary Amber Rudd decided on a figure of 4.39p.

“My priority is to ensure energy bills for hardworking families and businesses are kept as low as possible whilst ensuring there is a sensible level of support for low carbon technologies that represent value for money,” she told The Guardian. “We have to get the balance right and I am clear that subsidies should be temporary, not part of a permanent business model. When the cost of technologies come down, so should the consumer-funded support.”

The Solar Trade Association is concerned that more than 6,000 jobs have already been lost with more to follow. An impact assessment by the Department of Energy and Climate Change has already admitted that 18,700 of the industry’s 32,000 jobs could go as a result.

The renewables obligation for larger schemes will also close to all solar projects both rooftop and ground mounted from 1st April 2016. Subsidies will remain in place for other technologies including offshore wind and biomass until 2017.