Current affairs

By guest columnist Bill Wright, head of energy solutions, Electrical Contractors’ Association

We have to accept that nothing is going to happen until the new energy minister is in post but the message that has to be given to whoever takes that position is that the industry needs stability and long term incentives. The current ‘stop–starts’ is no good for the industry.

The solar farm tariffs are a prime case. Solar farms were first encouraged with a 1.4 ROC subsidy for those ‘ farms’ over 5MW. This encouraged many applications and the countryside in some areas has many such solar arrays. This has now been curtailed and the encouragement is being given to rooftop solar. Rooftop solar is good in itself and recent announcements by M&S that they had constructed the largest single roof solar power system is encouraging. The government is saying that they have insufficient funds to keep this level of subsidy. In the rush to beat the deadline over 1GW of solar farms were completed. Does this remind you of another subsidy rush a few years ago?

The list of stop start policies goes on –on and offshore wind farms, is another example where local councils have policies against them in many areas whilst central government tries to encourage them but the system ends in an impasse.

The message for the new minister must be stability, long term polices and sensible incentives so that long term investment in renewable technology can be made.