FiT’s – Latest News on Governments proposed changes – 6th January 2011

The Government applied to the Court of Appeal on 4th January for the right to appeal the High Court ruling that proposed plans to cut Feed-in-Tariff rates from an effective date of 12th December 2011 before the end of the consultation period was illegal.

Today it was announced that the hearing in the Court of Appeal has been set for next Friday 13th January.

If the Court agree with the Governments request for appeal then the appeal hearing itself will be held on the same day.

In relation to the High Court ruling a DECC spokesman said:

?The High Court?s decision was based on the view that the proposed approach to implementing new tariffs for solar PV is inconsistent with the FIT scheme?s statutory purpose of encouraging small-scale low-carbon electricity generation.

?We disagree with this for a number of reasons. The overriding aim of the proposed reduction in tariffs for solar PV (as set out in the recent consultation) is to ensure that over the long term as many people as possible are encouraged to install small scale low-carbon generation (including other technologies as well as solar PV) and benefit from the funding available for the FIT scheme. Without an urgent reduction in the current tariffs, which give a very generous return, the budget for the scheme would be severely depleted and there would be very little available for future solar PV generators, or for other technologies. Our view is that the urgent steps we have proposed to protect the scheme for the future are fully consistent with the scheme?s statutory purpose.

We have also made the point that the judicial review was premature as no decision has yet been taken, and a decision will only be taken after a full analysis of the responses to the consultation.?

In response to the news of the Government applying to the Court of Appeal, Friends of the Earth?s Policy and Campaigns Director Craig Bennett said:

?Ministers? insistence on continuing with the appeal process will simply add to the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the solar industry – and the thousands of jobs at stake.

?Instead of wasting taxpayers? money fighting this in the courts, Ministers should take steps to safeguard thousands of solar jobs and enable more homes, businesses and communities to plug in to clean energy.?

Peter Fahy, EnergyMyWay Regional Director, comments:

?Regretfully, although inevitable, the Governments decision to apply to the Court of Appeal has produced a large cloud of uncertainty. Whilst it is generally agreed within the industry that the tariff rates should be reduced to reflect reductions in capital costs, the proposed speed of introduction and effecting a change prior to completing a consultation was irresponsible. I can only trust that the court hearing next week will conclude what tariff rate actually and currently applies and so allow customers to proceed with confidence.?

James Eades

By: James Eades

Operations Director, James Eades is EnergyMyWay's in-house expert on renewable energy policy, microgeneration technologies and best practice in the renewable energy industry.