12/10/18 – Community energy projects will ‘stall’ with axe of export tariff

Utility Week article by David Blackman, 11th October 2018

Growth in community energy projects will stall due to plans to axe the
mechanism that pays small scale generators for the excess electricity
they supply to the grid, the government has been warned.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has announced that more than 300
organisations have signed its letter to energy minister Claire Perry
urging her to reverse proposals, announced during the summer, to end
the so called “export tariff” in April 2019.

The association is also lobbying MPs directly in a #Fair4Solar
Coalition, which includes the NFU, Church of England, Electrical
Contractors Association, WWF-UK, Community Energy England, UK Youth
Climate Coalition and 10:10.

The campaign says that the withdrawal of the export tariff will mean
that small scale rooftop installations will be subsidising the big
generation companies by providing free electricity.

Dr Afsheen Rashid, chair of Community Energy England, said that
withdrawing the export tariff would slow down the UK’s transition to
the low-carbon, smart energy system.

“We’re going to see a stalling of growth in community energy as a
whole. It is really detrimental because many projects are no longer
going to be financially viable, and community energy offers local
solutions, allowing local people to get involved in the energy system.

“Community energy is a key cornerstone to the government’s ambition
for transition to a low-carbon, smart energy system, but these plans
will see that transition slowed down.”

STA advocacy director Leonie Greene said: “Locally generated solar
power is a valuable commodity so it would be wrong not to pay people
for contributing to the clean energy supply we so desperately need.

“The export tariff is a sensible and established method for paying
smaller contributors fairly in a market that remains squarely set up
for very large-scale players.”

Under the government’s plans, the export tariff is due to disappear
alongside the feed-in tariff, which provides small scale generators
with a guaranteed cash sum for each kWh of electricity they produce.