British Wind Industry frustrated at government's inaction

Wind industry frustrated at government inaction on domestic renewables grants

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

BWEA, the UK's leading renewable energy business organisation has been left frustrated by latest government announcements on grants for domestic wind turbines.

In the beginning of April 2008 the government's department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) announced its intention to extend the poorly performing Low Carbon Buildings Programme into the next decade against the widespread advice of the renewables industry.

Alex Murley, BWEA Small Systems Manager said "To extend LCBP in its current form is to extend the illusion that government is sufficiently supporting the Britain's microgeneration industry at a critical stage in its development.

Government statistics have long shown the scheme to be providing domestic grants at such a low rate that the microgeneration market is barely affected. Yet BERR announced they will not be removing a widely acknowledged barrier to the scheme's operation, the cap on individual grants made available to domestic onsite renewable projects.

Murley added "The Government is under-supporting an industry key to meeting its renewable energy targets, the LCBP simply doesn't work, we need a new policy that does.

"If zero carbon policies are to be successfully delivered, a steady and consistent ramp up in the deployment of microgeneration technologies must start now."

In addition to this the buyback rate, that is to say price, that the electricity generating companies purchase any surplus generated by households is so small that, in fact, it is not worth the effort. Why is it that other countries of the developed world, Germany, Holland, Denmark and others, can have the electricity companies the microgenerating householders the general rate that the companies pay each other while in the UK, apparently, this just would not work, so government ministers and officials have said.

It seems to always that when it comes to any such things that, while all the other countries can do the right things in Britain this is not possible. The excuse again and again that we are being presented with is “that while this may work in Germany, Holland, etc. it could never work in Britain as, you see, Britain is different.” Well, we can see that alright dearest government officials. It is the same with some many things.

The problem with energy production, probably, is that most companies are not owned by British owners. They are owned by big foreign companies.

N Power, as an example, is owned, nigh on complete, by German energy giant RWE who would in Germany have to pay the full purchasing price to microgenerating householders. In the UK, on the other hand they do not have to do so and do not do so. No surprise, therefore, that the British government is rather reluctant to rock the boat. They own the companies here. It was a bad mistake when we allowed foreign companies to buy our strategic infrastructure and not just in regards to making renewable power generation pay for the householder.

© M Smith (Veshengro), April 2008