25 August 2016
Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has said that with the government looking for a way out of proceeding with the hugely expensive Hinkley nuclear project and the commissioning of new renewables schemes ‘falling off the cliff’, an urgent plan for kick-starting an energy revolution is now needed.
Figures just released from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy show that the installation of small scale renewable energy schemes - those under 5MW - have almost disappeared in the last few months. There has been no new small scale wind, hydro or anaerobic digestion projects at all since January this year, and new solar schemes have seen a drastic cut. Dr Scott Cato believes this is entirely a result of changes in government energy policy, particularly changes to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT). She said:
“The government is now looking for an exit route from Hinkley. This is great news; I have been calling for this white elephant to be shelved for many years. However, by putting all their eggs in one radioactive basket, and introducing policies that have discouraged individuals and communities from installing renewable energy schemes, they have all but killed off growth in small scale renewables. This is a sector with enormous potential not only for filling the energy gap and creating thousands of jobs, but also for generating home-grown energy that gives power back to communities rather than leaving it in the hands of giant corporations and foreign governments. It is a scandal that this sector, which was beginning to thrive in the UK, has been so badly hit.”
“The government now needs to acknowledge the mess it has made of energy policy and accept that the cheapest, greenest way to generate our electricity, as well as the way that provides the greatest energy security for the future, is through a massive investment in community based renewables. This is the revolution under way in Germany, where renewables now generate close to a third of the country’s electricity, up from 9 percent a decade ago. On certain days, renewables have provided 100% of the nation’s electricity requirements. The need for the same rapid transition here in the UK is now nothing short of a national emergency.”