Row Over UK Feed-In Tariffs Gets Political. And Decidedly Nasty.
I noted last week that the UK solar industry was on the ropes, battling crippling cuts to feed-in tariffs of 50% or more. Now that battle has turned party political, and decidedly nasty. Business Green reports that the opposition Labor Party is accusing the Conservative-led coalition of hypocrisy over feed-in tariff cuts, an accusation not without basis given Prime Minister David Cameron's previous promises to be the "greenest government ever". The row erupted in a heated exchange between shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint, and climate minister Greg Barker:
"History will record that Labour began this growth industry and your government's policies have all but killed it in its infancy, leaving thousands of skilled workers at risk of losing their jobs," she wrote.
She also highlighted that David Cameron had previously said the Conservatives were "committed to a system of feed-in tariffs", warned that the speed of the proposed changes to the scheme will make it harder to attract investors to other government-backed schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Green Deal, and argued that in focusing on the future cost of the feed-in tariff scheme Barker was ignoring mechanisms that could help tackle fuel poverty this winter.
Sadly however, as Business Green notes, the Labour shadow minister offers plenty of vitriol against the Convervative's cuts, but fails to clarify how Labour would itself reform feed-in tariffs without such drastic and hasty measures.