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Feed-in Tariffs and Power Generation

Volume 656: debated on Tuesday 19 March 2019

14. What steps he plans to take to support small and medium-sized renewable power generators after the scheduled closure of the feed-in tariffs scheme. (909878)

Solar is a UK success story: 99% of the solar capacity in the UK has been installed since 2010 when I became an MP. The feed-in tariff, however, as the hon. Gentleman knows, is a very expensive way of delivering small-scale generation. It has cost us almost £6 billion to date, and as the price of solar panels has fallen by 80%—I can see the hon. Gentleman sighing but numbers and value for money tend to matter on the Government Benches—I decided to bring forward the smart export guarantee, which opens up the market for small-scale generations and ensures that everybody is paid for power they export to the grid.

From listening to the Government’s rhetoric on climate change, we could be forgiven for thinking that the school strikers are coming out in support of them; they are coming out against them, and if we cut through the greenwash we see the feed-in tariff axed, the solar energy sector decimated, and now the exports payments framework about to be ended and no replacement put in place. So let me ask this: will the Government ever announce a cut to the lavish support they dole out to their friends in the fossil fuel industry?

It is news to me that the Labour party’s policy is to be anti the oil and gas industry that employs so many hundreds of thousands of people. And when it comes to rhetoric, the hon. Gentleman should just go and practise in front of the bathroom mirror. I am happy to share the facts with him again—[Interruption.] Perhaps he is going to ask me to get on my knees next, Mr Speaker. [Interruption.] What we do on the Government side of the House is focus on facts—[Interruption.] You know, Mr Speaker, the hon. Gentleman was very clear that he was not a misogynist bully boy; I think his activities and behaviour today suggests quite the opposite. If he would like me to answer the question——[Interruption.] The answer to the question is this: we have not slashed support for renewable energy. We are now moving to a point where renewable energy no longer requires subsidy to deploy. If the hon. Gentleman could just stop equating Government spending with success and look at the results, he will see that we do not subsidise things that we do not have to, which means we can focus on bringing other technologies to market.