Friday, 20 January 2012

UK Government Sets New Date For Tariffs Cut

... just in case it loses the appeal....

By Robin Whitlock

The government is aiming for a new deadline of 3rd March for a Feed-in Tariffs (FiTS) cut just in case it loses the appeal currently being considered by the Court of Appeal. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has delivered a proposal for draft licence modifications before Parliament. Subject to the Energy Act 2008, the document makes provisions for “a reduced tariff rate (from 1st April 2012 onwards) for new solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 3rd March 2012”.

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker commented in a ministerial statement “I know this is a difficult time for the sector and I want to do as much as I can to end the current uncertainty created by the legal challenge. We must reduce the level of FiTS for solar panels as quickly as possible, to protect consumer bills and to avoid bust in the whole Feed-in Tariff budget. We’re appealing against the court ruling that’s challenged our proposal for a December reference date. This remains our aim, and we are waiting for the judgement of the Court of Appeal. But this is too important for us to sit and do nothing while we wait. Today we’re putting in place a contingency that will bring a 21p rate into effect from April for installations from 3 March. However, we are still pressing ahead with our appeal and if successful, we retain the option of introducing a December reference date. In the circumstances we believe this gives the industry as much certainty as is possible. And it puts us in a better position to protect the budget for everyone involved.” 

The statement also reiterated the government’s intention, should it win the appeal, to stick to its original proposals including the December 12th deadline. Meanwhile Friends of the Earth welcomed the government’s plans to reduce the amount of uncertainty which it describes as crippling a thriving industry.

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