Greg Barker admits revised FiT is half original estimate

Energy minister Greg Barker has announced the revised costs of the Feed-in Tariff scheme will actually be half his department’s original estimates.

In a written answer to Parliament, Mr Barker said the new calculated costs of the extension of the 43.3p rate for solar PV show the extended scheme will now have a lifetime bill of £750 million and not the £1.5 billion his department first forecast.

And he admitted the annual cost to the scheme would now be £50 million, compared to the £25 million if the changes had been allowed to come into effect last December.

The energy minister said the big reduction was because the Department of Energy and Climate Change had appealed to the Supreme Court in an attempt to overrule an original High Court judgement and the installation figures were up to the contingency March 3 deadline.

But David Hunt of Eco Environments said the “massive margin of error” was another example of “Keystone Kop” policy-making.

“Once again we see that DECC seem to generate forecasts and financial figures based on the message they want to put out,” he added. “Message comes first, then the numbers to match the message.

“As we saw with the figures quoted by Barker and DECC about the cost of FIT to household energy bills, the numbers changed by the day, with little connection, corroboration or substantiation.

“Now we see forecasts of the cost of FIT extension out by 50 per cent, that is a massive margin of error which just goes to show DECC as a ‘Keystone Kops’ department, they lurch from one farce to another, whilst industry and consumers suffer.”

And Seb Berry, head of public affairs at Solarcentury, commented: “The shock tactics figures of “£100 million a year and £1.5 billion” clearly didn’t stand up to scrutiny. Analysis and decision making like this just undermines trust in government.”