FiT response: Not good but could be worse

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The UK Government today released its response to the Feed in Tariff Review consultation (PDF) held between August and October.

As expected there are wide-scale reductions in tariff levels, but not as significant as had been signalled. The one special concession for community projects is the reintroduction of pre-accreditation and the additional six-month period for eligible community organisations.

Other key points include:

  • There is budget: Total budget to 2019 is £100m. There had been concerns that a last minute accreditation surge might have used up the remaining budget.
  • Quarterly deployment caps, varied per technology. This is a method of managing the remaining budget allowance.
  • Reintroduction of pre-accreditation with additional 6 months for qualifying community groups.
  • No other special considerations for community projects.
  • Retention of onshore wind tariff.
  • Retention of generation tariff as well as export tariff – the consultation signalled removal of generation tariff.
  • Most tariffs higher than had been signalled in the consultation, but still significant reductions.
  • Hydro schemes up to 2MW subject to greater reductions than announced – 100kW reduced to 8.54p/kWh, 100-2,000kW reduced to 6.14p/kWh.
  • 4-week pause to scheme from 15 January 2016 to 8 February 2016.

Overall, the Community Energy Scotland view is that the response could have been worse. Although there are no special considerations for community projects (other than the reintroduction of pre-accreditation and the additional 6 months for community projects), we had argued for special measures in the expectation that the scheme itself might be discontinued and that proposed rates would be so low they would make most community projects unviable.

The response states: "Government recognises the wider benefits of the scheme in engaging non-energy professionals, such as households and communities, and does not therefore feel that closing the scheme now is appropriate given that Government intends to keep the generation tariff available at a more sustainable tariff level with the cost control measures proposed."
We can, therefore take some limited comfort that our message has been heard. It's now vital, if communities are to secure a reasonable share of the remaining budget, that projects are progressed as quickly as possible.

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