Barker confirms RO support for small scale renewables

Businesses will still be able to get support for small scale renewable technologies under the government’s Renewables Obligation (RO), climate change minister Greg Barker confirmed today.

DECC had suggested looking at excluding new small scale solar, anaerobic digestion, onshore wind and hydro power installations of between 50kW and 5MW from the RO from 1 April 2013 as part of its review of support for renewable electricity between 2013-17 published in July this year. This would have meant that the RO would support renewables over 5MW, with Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) being aimed at those who invest in solar, small scale wind, anaerobic digestion and hydro power projects under 5MW in size.

Following feedback from industry in recent months, DECC says it has decided to keep the option of both FITs and RO open for those investing in projects between 50kW and 5MW in size.

Climate change minister Greg Barker said: “I am fully committed to spurring on growth in clean green energy generation across the nation and want to provide long term certainty for those who choose to invest.

“In light of feedback from industry on our intention to consult on the overlap between the RO and FITs we believe that now is not the time to make further changes to these schemes.

“Industry needs certainty, and keeping the current arrangements for small scale renewables as they are will help provide this assurance.”

Chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, Gaynor Hartnell, commented: “This decision is most definitely the right one, and will be welcomed by all those in the renewables industry. This is evidence of the government’s willingness to listen to sensible and constructive debate, and the kind of mature working relationship we need to have.”

Chief executive of RenewableUK, Maria McCaffery, added: “RenewableUK are pleased that government has recognised that a number of developers taking forward commercial projects below 5MW wish to retain the option of taking forward their projects under the renewables obligation. This decision also means that we will not see a large influx of commercial developers restricted to using the feed-in tariff.”

Paul Barwell, Solar Trade Association, said: “The STA didn’t waste a minute setting out the problems this would create for a wide range of solar schemes to officials and we wrote to the Minister jointly with REA expressing our concern.  We really are very grateful to the Minister for listening carefully. The interface with the RO and FIT may not be perfect, but it is vital to retain confidence and momentum through this well understood support mechanism.”