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Renewable Power-Generating Companies

Volume 645: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2018

2. What his policy is on supporting small and medium-sized renewable power generating companies after the scheduled closure of the feed-in tariff scheme. (906486)

The hon. Gentleman will know, because there are more than 6,000 installations in Manchester alone, that the feed-in tariff scheme has been hugely successful in attracting investment in small-scale renewable electricity, delivering more than 800,000 installations across the country. Partly as a result of that scheme, costs of the technology have dropped dramatically, but also because of the success of the scheme, it became, as he will know, very unaffordable. I am very aware of the need to set out what the next stage of small-scale renewable investment looks like, and I look forward to doing so shortly.

Businesses are very aware of the need too. There are thousands of stakeholders in the renewables industry who need to understand the regulatory framework that they will be operating under when the feed-in tariff ends. The Government promised an update on the approach to small-scale renewables by the end of last year, but we have heard nothing. Will the Minister please tell us today when the feed-in tariff consultation will be published?

I share entirely the hon. Gentleman’s desire for us to get on with it. In fact, I have met many representatives of the sectors. We just have to get the scheme right. We must not create something that causes a bonanza for people who are gaming the system or that puts up bills for consumers. We are very aware of the need to provide certainty for investors, and I look forward to doing so soon.

17. Solar power has been shut out of clean power options for three years, and onshore wind vilified. Will the Minister heed the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations to forgo new nuclear investment in favour of bringing back clean power options for cheap and established renewables? (906503)

I can only refer to the comments of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. We want to provide a balanced, secure energy supply that keeps bills down for consumers. That is why we will be investing in nuclear. We have invested in many forms of renewable energy. In fact, we are now leading many parts of the world in that investment, and we will continue to do so.

Solar PV installations this year will be running at just 2% of their peak rate in 2011. This is certainly due to the downgrading and forthcoming closure of the FIT scheme in March 2019. As the Minister has mentioned, a consultation on FITs has now been promised for a year. It was supposed to have been published by this recess; now it is not. Why is the Minister fiddling about the future of FITs while the solar house burns down?

Such alliteration, despite such late nights. The hon. Gentleman will know that we have been really successful in pulling forward a huge amount of solar. In fact, solar has contributed enormously to the energy mix over the past few days, as the hon. Gentleman will know. Much of it is not recorded because it sits behind the meter. However, I acknowledge his point. We intend to bring forward a scheme that works, that does not put up bills for consumers and that acknowledges that much of our renewable future will be subsidy-free.