An early review of Feed-in Tariffs (“FITs”) was announced today by Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. This was widely expected by the industry due to the implications of the Comprehensive Spending Review and recent statements made by Greg Barker, Minister of State for Climate Change, regarding large scale, standalone solar PV plants.
Fast Track Review for Large Scale Solar PV Projects
There will be a fast-track consideration of large scale solar PV projects (over 50 kW) with a view to making any resulting changes to tariffs as soon as practical, subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny as required by the Energy Act 2008.
It is not yet clear exactly how long this review process will take, but the Government has reiterated that it will not act retrospectively, with any changes to generation tariffs implemented as a result of the review only affecting new entrants into the FITs scheme. The indications are, however, that it will apply this protection narrowly, with only installations that have already achieved accreditation at the time of the change being grandfathered.
Comprehensive Review of FITs
The main review will consider all aspects of the scheme and be completed by the end of 2011, with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012 (unless the review reveals a need for greater urgency).
Anaerobic Digestion Plants
Alongside the fast-track review of large scale solar PV projects, there will also be a short study into the take-up of FITs for farm-based anaerobic digestion plants, as a result of fewer projects coming forward for accreditation than expected.
In his statement, Chris Huhne also confirmed that the Government hoped to publish next month measures to support renewable heat within the “envelope” agreed at the Comprehensive Spending Review.