Renewable energy leaders warn that sector could be 'strangled at birth' by proposed closure of £50m micro-renewables fund
Last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced it was closing the £50m second phase of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP), aimed at public sector buildings, to new applicants from June 2009.
It has now told renewables lobbyists that the proposed introduction of feed-in tariffs, an alternative incentive for micro-renewables that involves paying above market price to those who generate renewable energy, will not be introduced until April 2010.
With more than £23m still available in the LCBP pot, the industry is lobbying for the two-year programme to continue until the feed-in tariff is launched. Makers of micro-generation technology have become reliant on the LCBP, which pays up to 50% of product and installation costs for micro-renewables.
Green initiatives will be strangled if the companies that deliver them have no market
Philip Wolfe, REA
Manufacturers of heating devices will be most affected, as the DECC has not said when they can expect a replacement funding stream for their products.
Ray Noble, the former UK manager at BP Solar who now heads up the Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) solar division, said the LCBP was the industry’s most important funding stream. “Before, there was about £8-10m worth of funding per year. The LCBP nearly tripled the amount.”
Philip Wolfe, executive director of the REA, said: “The government rightly talks about a green jobs revolution, but these initiatives will be strangled at birth if the companies that deliver them have no market in the meantime.”