Energy minister defends planned renewables subsidy cuts

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom has defended the government’s proposed cuts to renewable energy support, despite widespread concern about the impact on jobs and investor confidence.

Speaking during questioning by the Energy and Climate Change Committee on Tuesday (20 October), she said feedback to the Feed-in Tariffs (Fits) review consultation, which closes on Friday (23 October), had been “incredibly varied”, but insisted investor confidence had not been as badly affected as some suggested.

See also: Calls for government to pull back on drastic renewables cuts

“It’s only when the consultation closes and we’re in full possession of all the facts that we’ll have a clearer idea of the implications.”

Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom © Andrew Parson/Rex Shutterstock

Mrs Leadsom said protecting future investor confidence was vital and she planned to meet representatives of the solar industry on Wednesday (21 October) to discuss the proposed cuts.

“We have been carefully listening to the public and industry throughout this consultation and will make our response as quickly as possible.”

She reiterated the government’s desire for renewable energy to be viable without subsidy and insisted some technology was already at, or close to that point, although acknowledged the need for continued support for certain sectors, especially those with longer lead times.

Mrs Leadsom said the UK was on track to reach its target of 30% of electricity from renewables by 2020.

Responding to criticism over the timing of recent consultations, such as the ending of pre-accreditation for Fits which came out over the summer, the minister said the government had acted as quickly as possible to protect consumer bills from further overspending.