Written - Promoting Renewable Energy Financial Incentives in Wales
The first phase of the UK Government’s ‘clean energy cash back’ for households, industry, business and communities who use renewable energy will be coming into force from April 2010. Under the Feed in Tariffs (FITs), households, communities and businesses who install generating technologies such as small wind turbines and solar panels will be entitled to claim payments for the low carbon electricity they produce. Larger scale projects will continue to be supported by Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs).
The UK Government is also consulting on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which would come into force in April 2011 and provide a similar payment for generation and export of renewable heat.
Low income households will need extra help in order to take advantage of these renewable energy financial incentives. Both the UK Government response to the FIT consultation and the current consultation on RHI recognise that this as an important issue.
We will be working with stakeholders in Wales to encourage the take up of renewable energy financial incentives from micro to macro scale projects. Households, communities, businesses and the public sector can all benefit from the funding available to develop renewable energy projects.
The Energy Saving Trust has a wide range of information on microgeneration on their website (www.energysavingtrust.org.uk), including a Home Energy Generation Selector tool that householders can use to find what technologies might be suitable for their home. More detailed advice is available by ringing the Energy Saving Trust advice centre in Wales (0800 512 012). The Energy Saving Trust is also developing a FIT calculator tool which will be in place prior to the introduction of the FIT in April. The tool will allow householders to estimate the potential return they might get on their investment.
The Energy Saving Trust’s Local Authority and Housing Association Support Programme (funded by the Assembly Government) is also organising two events in March (one in North Wales, one in South Wales) to help Local Authorities and Housing Associations to understand FITs and to advise them on ways to secure significant local benefits for their tenants and local communities.
Carbon Trust will also be providing support to businesses and the public sector to enable them to access Feed in Tariffs.
I will also be strongly championing the potential benefits of Feed in Tariffs for community renewable energy projects. Supporting communities to take action to reduce their carbon footprint and become more self-sufficient in energy and other resources is a key element of our Climate Change Strategy.
Some communities have already identified energy efficiency and low carbon energy generation as an area they wish to take forward. We would like to see communities become net energy exporters. Feed in Tariffs will then generate an income stream which they could re-invest to help fund local projects.
The Assembly Government’s Community Scale Renewable Energy Generation Programme will play a key role in enabling people to develop renewable energy projects that benefit whole communities. Our project partner, the Energy Saving Trust, will co-ordinate the technical advice service and manage applications. The programme establishes a regionally based Development Officer Service to provide expert support to community energy projects. This will build on and strengthen the capacity of organisations across Wales who already have expertise in this area.
Further information on FITs can be found at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/uk_supply/energy_mix/renewable/policy/feedin_tarriff/feedin_tarriff.aspx