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Varied industry responses to UK Carbon Plan

The UK renewable energy and associated industries have voiced varied reactions to the UK’s Carbon Plan, from calling it a “positive first step” to criticising Government for not listening to the industry.

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

The Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil & Energy Security (ITPOES) calls the Carbon Plan a “positive first step”, but warns about a heightened urgency for action with rising fuel prices and increasing uncertainty over oil reserves.

In a joint statement, ITPOES members Arup, Buro Happold, Kingfisher, Solarcentury, SSE, Stagecoach Group and Virgin Group, say: “Business has a crucial role to play if we are to wean the UK off oil.

“We must work together to deliver a radical solution to the challenge of peak oil, and we hope this will be reflected in the forthcoming budget with accelerated support for domestic and commercial low-carbon initiatives, including a low-carbon transportation strategy to reduce our oil dependence.”

Must stick to timeline

The UK business organisation CBI’s Deputy Director-General, Dr Neil Bentley, comments: “Now the Government has set out the timeline for making the shift to a low-carbon economy, it must stick to it.

“Businesses need policy certainty and clarity to commit to low-carbon investment, but they still don’t know how key initiatives will work, including the new planning system and the Green Deal.”

Solar feed-in tariff review vs. Carbon Plan

Seb Berry, Head of External Affairs at Solarcentury and part of the campaign group We Support Solar, welcomes the rhetoric of the Carbon Plan, but warns that minister must start rethinking the solar photovoltaic (PV) feed-in tariff review announced in February.

“Since 7 February, an unnecessary cloud has been hanging over the UK’s fledgling solar PV industry. Ministers’ knee-jerk response to the perceived ‘threat’ of ‘super size’ solar farms has created chaos in our sector. But the shock decision to rush through an immediate solar PV feed-in tariff review and to bring forward the review of all other technologies by fully 12 months, flies in the face of the facts.

“In the first 9 months of the scheme, the total spend on all feed-in tariff technologies was just £6 million and the projected output from new PV in the first year of the tariff is going to fall well below the Government’s expectations.”

He adds: “If Ministers are really serious about accelerating Britain’s progress towards becoming a low-carbon economy they need to take actions that are consistent with their rhetoric, not the opposite.

“They should start with lifting the ridiculous 50 kWp threshold for the immediate feed-in tariff review and sticking to the timetable set out in their own Carbon Plan.”

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