David Cameron may be a husky-hugger – but he’s no green PM.
Since they achieved a whisker-thin majority in May, he and Osborne have set their course firmly against green and renewable energy – in spite of the fact that such energy generation represents not only a green alternative, but also an important ‘sun-rise’ industry.
One of the latest moves here has been to threaten so-called feed-in tariffs.
‘The feed-in tariff provides households, businesses and public sector bodies that deploy approved clean energy technologies with guaranteed payments for the power they generate and additional payments for any power they export to the grid. It has been credited with driving a surge in the deployment of microgeneration technologies, and has in particular driven rapid expansion in the UK’s solar market.’
The Tories now propose to reduce these tariffs by nearly 90%.
A consultation is currently taking place to slash feed in tariffs for solar panels for the smallest developments from 12.47p per kilowatt hour to just 1.63p.
Councillor Richard Lewis, a senior Labour councillor in Leeds and Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, is very concerned that this will make many solar panel installation schemes, including those being provided by Leeds City Council on Council homes, economically unviable.
As Richard said
“I’m dismayed by central government seeking to make yet another cut to green schemes. With no Green Deal funding, no requirement for zero carbon homes and massively reduced feed in tariffs, where is the incentive for homeowners or developers to make their properties more eco-friendly?
“Feed in tariffs make a huge difference, incentivising solar panels to be installed and creating energy that we can all use. Without this incentive, smaller companies will not be able to attract people to pay for installations, stopping a developing cottage industry in its tracks.
“The Council will complete the solar panel installations we are currently putting up in people’s homes, but after that I cannot guarantee we will be able to afford any more installations. The funding will just not stack up. The government is well and truly shooting itself in the foot!”
Cameron and Osborne have already moved to cut subsidies to onshore wind and solar farms – and we recently saw the impact of their rowing back on Green energy at the Drax carbon capture plant.
Drax represents the high-end of new green technologies. Solar panels are, as Richard points out, green ‘cottage industries’. At both ends of the scale the Tories are betraying not only the future of the planet, but the shorter-term advantages of job creation and economic growth – including in the North.
Northern Powerhouse? In its energy policies alone this Tory government shows what a sick joke – and cynical election promise – that was.