More than 200 representatives from the renewable energy industry have called on the coalition government and the Treasury to urgently clarify future support levels for renewable technologies and stop treating the sector like a “political football”.

An open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg yesterday (9 August) said that the long-awaited Renewables Obligation (RO) banding decision published at the end of July (Business, 27 July) had failed to set out the support levels to 2017 as expected.

That had left key technologies such as onshore wind, solar power and anaerobic digestion, with only one year’s certainty or less and would result in consented projects being rushed through and the remainder would stall, it warned.

The Renewable Energy Association said there were increasing concerns about the slow pace and complexity of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s policy framework and a series of interventions by the Treasury had created further confusion about government objectives.

“Government shouldn’t squander this once in a generation opportunity to transform our energy system into one fit for the future, with all the jobs and inward investment this will bring.”
Martin Wright, REA chairman

“The decisions for renewable power were late and raised more questions than they answered,” Martin Wright, chairman of the REA said. “Renewables must not be treated like a political football, kicked between DECC and Treasury. Government shouldn’t squander this once in a generation opportunity to transform our energy system into one fit for the future, with all the jobs and inward investment this will bring.”

The letter said 18 months of consultation on RO support and Electricity Market Reform (EMR) had offered plenty of opportunity for departmental differences to be resolved in timely fashion, but instead, energy policy had become confused and fundamental questions still had to be answered under EMR. “Constant reviews and policy uncertainty deter investment and risk adding to costs.”

Ministers and the Treasury were urged to “systematically and publicly appreciate the long-term benefits of investment in renewable energy, not just the short-term costs”.

“We also urge you to expedite clarity on support levels for investors in all renewable power technologies under the RO, and under EMR. Finally, we seek your assurance that the coalition government is committed to the popular and successful Feed-in Tariff scheme.”

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