UK's Feed In Tariff fade out confirmed
The UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has set out a proposal to close the country’s Feed-In-Tariffs (FITs) scheme.
In the proposal, the scheme would be closed to new applications after 31 March 2019. Feed-In-Tariffs are the UK government’s subsidy scheme for generation of renewable electricity from small-scale low-carbon installations. Both anaerobic digestion and combined heat and power (CHP) agricultural installations have been greatly supported by the Scheme.
The government is hosting a consultation until 13 September 2019 on the proposed changes. An impact assessment has been released to accompany the consultation.
According to the consultation, the FIT scheme was introduced to support the widespread adoption of small scale (up to 5MW) low-carbon electricity generating technologies, intending to give the wider public a stake in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Original 2010 deployment projections, ‘both in terms of numbers of installations and installed capacity’, have been exceeded, the government reporting over 800,000 installations confirmed on the Central FIT Register as of March 2018.
Vision for the future
In the consultation, an explanation is presented for the government’s decision to close the FITS Scheme.
“Our energy system is changing; technologies such as storage are expected to play an increasingly important role and government seeks to move away from driving deployment with direct subsidies,” the consultation states.
“It is our view that the current FITs flat rate export tariff does not align with our vision for the future, given our desire to move towards fairer, cost reflective pricing and the continued drive to minimise support costs on consumers, as well as supporting the vision set out in the Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy published last year.”
The UK’s Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has released a response to the government’s FIT consultation.
“With the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) confirmed to close in just nine months’ time, this was an opportunity for the government to prove that it is committed to providing the investment that is absolutely critical to supporting small-scale renewables, which make a vital contribution to decarbonising and meeting increased demand for electricity in the UK,” said Charlotte Morton, ADBA’s chief exective.
“Unfortunately, this is an opportunity that has been well and truly missed.”
Morton went on to describe the ‘severe risk’ facing the AD and AD CHP industries.
“With the government no longer providing direct support for the generation of renewable electricity, on-farm AD will struggle to deliver its numerous non-energy benefits, which include reducing emissions from wastes, improving air quality and resource management, and restoring soils through the production of nutrient-rich biofertiliser. This also puts at severe risk the more than 300 AD CHP plants currently in the planning pipeline.
“It’s therefore vital that the government rethinks its baffling decision to have no new low-carbon electricity levies until 2025, which risks creating a valley of death that small-scale technologies such as AD could easily fall into.”
Responding to Morton’s statement, a BEIS Spokesperson said: “This scheme has been hugely successful, outstripping our predictions and generating enough electricity for two million homes. But it’s only right we protect consumers and adjust incentives as costs fall.
“We are world leaders in renewable energy and since 1990 have cut emissions by more than 40% and are committed to continuing to lead the world in renewables. The Government is investing £2.5 billion to support low carbon innovation and are seeking views on how best to support small scale renewables beyond 2019.”