Cameron accused of an 'anti-renewables agenda' by energy company

Published:  20 April, 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron has been accused of pursuing an "anti-renewables agenda", in a letter by the director of UK renewable energy company Eco Environments.

In a letter to Mr Cameron, a director at Eco Environments, a fast-growing renewable energy company, spoke of his "grave concern" over the recently-announced fast track review of feed-in tariffs for solar energy.

David Hunt said: "The proposals will effectively sacrifice the UK’s flourishing solar industry and have already frozen investment in projects over 50kW, which includes community projects and businesses wishing to do the right thing.

"The coalition said it would ‘encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefit from the power produced’. Indeed, Vince Cable told me personally at an event in Liverpool that the government is ‘fully committed to feed-in tariffs’."

Under new proposals, the government wants to cut the subsidy for installations producing 50kW to 150kW from 32.9p/kWh to 19p, while installations producing over 150kW will have their subsidy cut from 30.7p to 15.7p. Solar farms producing over 250kW would receive only 8.5p.

In his letter, Hunt continued: "We have been shocked by these proposals which will once again leave the UK’s solar industry lagging far behind other countries.

"Unless the UK approach on solar is reconsidered, the sector could be sent into another tailspin in just 18 months. Allocated support is likely to run out for solar projects of any size, as a result of recasting the feed-in tariff as a capped mechanism in the Spending Review.

"The attack on the solar industry is particularly stupid given solar’s proven record of rapid job creation and truly exceptional reductions in cost.

"There is widespread frustration that your government does not understand this technology or its potential. Solar is crucial to a genuinely sustainable and competitive energy system in the UK. It could easily meet a third of the UK’s electricity needs."

David Hunt concluded his letter to the Prime Minister by stressing that the industry was willing to work with the government to achieve "appropriate cuts in subsidy levels", adding "the planned marginalisation of this technology is a terrible mistake."

In three years, Eco Environments has grown to become a £1.3 million turnover business with 20 staff and offices in Liverpool, Darlington, Penrith, Manchester and Tamworth.