UK set to approve feed-in tariff for renewables micro-generation - UPDATED

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Today the UK parliament has published amendments to the Energy Bill, which provide more information on the potential feed-in tariff for renewable energies. Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK, said last week in a presentation to the House of Lords that he intends to amend the current energy bill that goes before the Houses of Parliament this week.

A timeframe of one year has been put on implementation from the passing of the bill. Quoted from amendment 5 (1) “The Secretary of State shall make regulations within one year of the day on which this Act is passed for the purpose of introducing a renewable energy tariff for a specified fixed period to specified producers of renewable energy.”

These regulations will cover tariff levels and conditions including: amount of the feed-in tariff by technology, size and class; who will be eligible; how it will be funded; who will administer the scheme; and importantly the right of “specified producers of renewable energy to have their production conveyed into a distribution system as a priority.”

Renewable source (of energy) is defined in the Utilities Act 2000 (c.27) as “renewable sources means sources of energy other than fossil fuel or nuclear fuel”.

The document goes on to stipulate that The Secretary of State within three months of the passing of the bill must make regulations “for the purpose of granting permitted development status (developments that do not require planning permission) to specified micro-generation installations”. Importantly these clauses relate directly to small wind turbines and air source heat pumps but include “any such further technologies The Secretary of State may consider appropriate”.

It seems likely that any feed-in tariff could include PV and solar thermal as part of the package. At the least the amendments allow for solar power to be included during the regulatory process.

Reported on 17-10-08
Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK, said yesterday in a presentation to the House of Lords that he intends to amend the current energy bill that goes before the Houses of Parliament next week. The amendment should see the inclusion of a feed-in tariff for the micro-generation of renewable energies.

The newly-formed Department of Energy and Climate Change was created by the Prime Minister on the 3rd of October to “give an even greater focus to solving the twin challenges of climate change and energy supply.”

Ed Miliband said in his speech to Parliament, “…but having heard the debate on this issue, including from many colleagues in this House, I also believe that complementing the renewables obligation for large-scale projects, guaranteed prices for small-scale electricity generation, feed-in-tariffs, have the potential to play an important role, as they do in other countries.”

The UK has signed on to the EU directive to produce 20% of all energy through renewable sources by 2020. However, the UK government has come under much criticism over the past few years for doing little to achieve this goal. Should the current scheme of ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates) remain as it is, then the UK will only achieve 5% by 2020.

The move by the Prime Minister to create the new department has been met with wide approval from such industry associations as REA (Renewable Energy Association) and the STA (Solar Trade Association). The amendment was lobbied for by REA acting on behalf of over 35 organisations including Sharp UK, Schott UK and Solar Century.

The UK energy market was the equivalent of 232.1 million tons of oil in 2006. Currently, less than 2% of energy is produced by renewables.

There are three crystalline module manufacturers in the UK: Sharp in Wales, a company that converted their VCR factory, GB SOl and Romag. G24i is working with thin films and PV Crystalox is the only ingot manufacturer in the UK.

The UK renewable energy strategy consultation document outlines a possible feed-in tariff system (pictured below).

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