New Campaign Urges UK Government To Rethink Small-Scale Renewables Cuts

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A new campaign has been launched in the UK in an attempt to convince the UK Government to rethink its cuts to small-scale renewable support.

The new campaign, People Power, is being jointly run by RenewableUK, the UK’s trade body for onshore and offshore wind, as well as wave and tidal energy, and the UK’s Solar Trade Association, “opposing the Government’s plans to cut financial support to small-scale renewables, including wind turbines and solar panels.”

uk clean domestic energySpecifically, according to RenewableUK, the campaign “is calling for members of the public, as well as the thousands of renewable energy employees, to petition the Government to provide more stable support to these maturing sectors by writing to their local MP and harnessing the power of social media.”

Much has already been written about the UK Government’s current plans to affect changes to the governmental support given to the renewable energy industry. Such changes to policy were responsible for the UK’s falling out of EY’s most recent Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index for the first time since the Index was established in 2003.

Specifically, much of the policy changes being implemented or rumored are focused on hurting smaller installations and the burgeoning stability of the UK’s solar and onshore wind industry.

“This campaign is about sending a simple message to Government: don’t wreck an industry, which for the first time has given people the power to control their own energy supply,” said Gemma Grimes, Director of Policy – Consents & Intelligence at RenewableUK. “Small-scale renewables is an extraordinary success in the UK, creating thousands of new green jobs and allowing local communities to generate their own clean energy.”

One of the major targets of the policy changes is the country’s wildly successful Feed-in Tariff program, which is likely to be drastically castrated if the current policies are allowed to come to fruition.

The Feed-In Tariff provides a lifeline to the rural economy, allowing farmers and small businesses to “diversify their income and save on their electricity bills, especially during tough economic times,” added Grimes. “The Government’s actions are in danger of consigning this great work to the past.”

“Poll after poll shows the great majority of the public strongly supports local renewable energy,” added Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association. “Yet Government proposals for Feed-in Tariffs are extreme and they will stop families and communities from investing locally in clean energy all over the UK. This would be an astonishing step backwards as we head toward crucial climate talks in Paris.”

“To prevent this happening it is vital that people make their voice heard in Parliament right now. Individual voices are small but together we can deliver a message that Westminster cannot ignore. The Action for Renewables website makes it easy for people to contact their MP and urge them to fight these proposals and protect people power.”

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Joshua S Hill

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3 thoughts on “New Campaign Urges UK Government To Rethink Small-Scale Renewables Cuts

  • What is the election cycle in the UK, four years?
    And what about regional election and support from that level of government and the municipial level of government and support from that level for RE systems?
    Will people have to wait for changes or will it happen like it did in Australia?

    • It changed this year to every 5 years but there are certain cases where it can be shorter –

      Below national government we have county,borough and then parish councils, each level representing smaller areas –

      Support at the smaller levels (especially at borough and parish level) really does depend upon individual councillors. There are planning procedures and guidlines in place that mitigate against this but sometimes individuals or small groups of councillors can affect decisions. Which is why some areas of the UK have no problem installing various RE systems whereas other areas struggle.

      Caveat – this is a simplistic explanation 🙂

      • A simple, but good explanation!

        The main problem is the “purse strings” are controlled much more by the UK government than the Federal governments in Australia/USA and the current UK government is against providing any financial support to renewable energy.

        The UK government also controls planning in England (& Wales) and have made it virtually impossible to get planning permission for future wind turbines with solar expected to be next. However, planning is a “devolved” matter, therefore the Scottish and Northern Irish governments can (and continue to) maintain their pro-wind stance. The process of devolving planning powers to Wales is ongoing, and with this it is expected Wales will also have a pro-renewable stance.

        Another interesting fact is one of the most powerful and high profile politicians in the UK is the Mayor of London – London is about a quarter of the UK economy. The opposition Labour party have selected Sadiq Khan as their candidate and he is generally supportive of environmental issues, however, the Conservative party’s candidate is expected to be Zac Goldsmith who is even more supportive of the environment (he was even editor of The Ecologist at one point) and it not afraid of criticising the wider party.

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