The renewables sector has responded with mixed feelings over the government’s announced changes to the Renewables Obligation (RO) – the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s chief mechanism for supporting large scale projects.
New bandings have now been set for the period 2013-17 (2014-17 for offshore wind) with support for onshore wind being reduced by 10 percent and a further review due in 2014. Rates of support for offshore wind will reduce as generation costs fall over the next few years whilst support for marine energy will more than double. No reduction in support for large scale solar has been announced although further consulations will take place later this year.
DECC has also announced its intention to consult on excluding from the RO all technologies of 5 MW and below that are currently eligible for support under either the RO or FITs.
John Cridland, CBI director-general, said: “The level of support the government has agreed for onshore wind will help to encourage investment into our energy sector, creating jobs and supporting growth. Companies must be able to invest with confidence so that we can have secure, affordable and low-carbon electricity in the decades to come.”
Gordon MacDougall, ceo RES UK & Ireland, said: “RES welcomes today’s announcement by the government confirming that support for onshore wind will remain as set out in its original consultation. By maintaining its commitment to an evidence-based approach, based on broad range of industry experts and stakeholders, the Government has sent a clear signal that Britain is open to investment and that vital investment in the low carbon economy will not be undermined by short-term, political interests.”
Event director of The Renewables Event, Jamie Cook, said: “With the Renewables Obligation (RO) banding now set out for 2013-17, the UK’s commitment to specific renewable energy sources is now assured removing some of the uncertainty that held back investment.”
Those more critical of the announcement included the Renewable Energy Association (REA), Solar Trade Association (STA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU).