Save UK Renewable Energy & Solar PV Sector from the Conservative Party
Stop destroying UK Renewable Energy & Solar jobs
Seize the Opportunity for Jobs and Growth, Support renewable power
Dear Mr Osborne,
I write to declare astonishment that your policies appear continually ignorant of the magnitude of the business opportunity presented to UK PLC by the global necessity of delivering lower carbon industrialised economies. It is cited by many as being the ‘third industrial revolution’ but, having personally worked in power generation in several EU countries, the UK continues to be a reluctant bit part player, big on talk, lacking in delivery.
In your recent speech you stated that the UK emitted only 2% of global CO2 emissions, concluding that the UK should not lead nor act fast on this issue. YOU HAVE MISSED THE POINT. The UK’s businesses and entrepreneurs could be making billions leading the way on this huge change opportunity, yet your political outlook is to reduce and remove support, particularly for renewable energy generation, at every turn. YOU are driving the UK toward being a laggard in this respect, where is the positive leadership of your party supporting growth and a leading role for the UK in the global renewable power sector?
Particularly upsetting has been the continuing fiasco over the UK’s feed in tariff, a mechanism used by Governments world over to drive the growth of renewable power generation. It does not cost the UK Govt. a bean, FiTs being added to household bills currently at a level of less than £1 per bill payer per year. That trivial increase has since April 2010 generated a UK Solar industry now employing 25,000 people, all paying income taxes to HM Revenue far in excess of the Govt cost of operating the scheme. No denying that the FiT rates are now high compared to the cost of Solar PV as it continues on it’s downward trajectory, and should now be reduced. But not to the extent that happened when Greg Barker reviewed mid scale Solar projects earlier this year. During that review i personally made 40 British engineers & planners redundant and cancelled construction contracts that would have employed 500 UK construction workers. The £860M FiT budget to end March 2015 was only ever an estimate of the growth of the sector. YOU changed it into a capped (and reduced) budget and I say again, the FiT produces a NET INCOME for your government, it is NOT an expenditure.
I’d also implore you and your Government to lessen its unhealthy fixation on Nuclear power being the largest part of the UK’s strategy to a low carbon future. DECC appears to be a Nuclear institutionalised organisation suspiciously protective of its Nuclear stance and the Committee for Climate Change appears blind (or lobbied into a corner) to what is happening now in Germany, the US, Sweden, Italy etc. In those countries post Fukashima costs of Nuclear (amongst other concerns) combined with continually falling costs of Solar PV & CSP have led to rational cost based decisions to reduce Nuclear’s role and increase Solar’s as part of the low carbon mix. In the US, grid parity is now achievable for utility scale Solar power generation, in lower Germany it is thought to be just 2 to 3 years away. Why it is apparently OK for DECC continue to pump billions into UK Nuclear each year (as has been the case now for 50yrs), both overtly and through supportive policy, whilst renewable power is trivialised and lessened, can only be explained by entrenched positions and vested interest. You’ll shout, “5ROC support for tidal power, aren’t we green”, but really how much will that cost the Govt for the hundred Megawatts that may be built (before you reduce it) compared with the tens of thousands of Nuclear Megawatts DECC are fully behind.
I am proud to say that I am a British Engineer who has, despite Alan Sugar’s view on engineers, founded, grown and run several successful (and some not so successful) technical businesses creating UK exports, pools of technical expertise and jobs. 8 years ago I steered my career towards the huge business opportunity presented by the global shift to a lower carbon economy. Over those 8 years i’ve focused on Energy, having developed sustainable biomass CHP power stations in Sweden, built sustainable agricultural energy crop supply chains in the UK and Eastern EU, managed 1% of the UK’s grid power on a daily basis (reducing it by 15% or 250k tonnes CO2) as Head of Energy of Tesco Plc and latterly having developed and constructed the UK’s largest fleet of Solar PV power stations (28MW operating now generating zero carbon electricity).
For the sake of British Entrepreneurs, Engineers and citizens, please please grab hold of the opportunity staring you in the face and drive the UK to become a leading player in the business opportunity of delivering a global lower carbon economy. Take an easy, immediate, no cost action by raising your ambition for Solar Power in the UK by lifting the unnecessary FiT cap- a clear cap on growth and jobs.
British Mechanical Engineer and Managing Director of Orta Solar Ltd (http://www.ortasolar.co.uk )
As a starting point I would state that I an neither an engineer nor a scientist.
My understanding on the nuclear front is that the in respect of current materials we are nearing the point where we can "clean up" the waste on an industrial scale so that the waste doesn't have to be buried for several thousand years and cannot be used to create military style devices.
Furthermore, I understand that the use of Thorium would make the whole nuclear industry far more palatable.
In respect of renewables then having a south facing home the south room would gather lots of the sun's energy during the day and one or more wind turbines would gather energy whenever there was a mild breeze - which, according to my pampas grass an conifer, is pretty well all the time in sunny Walthamstow.
Gathering the sunlight is great during the day (when I'm at work) but AC cannot be stored unless one uses a battery of batteries and wither convert it back to AC or design DC appliances (most of them are - just the "white goods" don't seem to convert the AC into DC to run the appliance circuits.
Without doubt renewables will create many jobs for many years to come and, of course, industrial scaling will bring down the price. The more "free" energy we are able to use the more we will design to take advantage of that fact.
I am of the "think global, act local" school and this perverse, ill considered and, one might argue, anti-British stance beggars belief on a monumental scale.
Ordinary sort of bloke with a roof and a breeze:-)
Obviously you clearly have a vested interest.
May I first point out that MPs can and some will justify anything that is their interests and won't if it against them.
Secondly by trying to promote a means of generating wealth for the UK you are attempting to act against our allegedly orchastrated economic collapse.
Clearly you are not seeing the big picture or you are inadvertently or perhaps deliberately attempting to act against a suspected goverment policy.
M Tilley commented
If every one had PV panels fitted, we would not have the need to build another Nuclear Power station! In Portugal, the government insisted on having a large percentage of turbines being manufactured in house so why don't we follow the same example? And what has happened to the greener than green Lib Dems? Like most politicians, Mr Hune seems to be filling up with bull s**t...
lyn swan-ellison commented
@ Hugh. Couldn't agree more.
Glad I got my panels up and working before Mr David(green? I think not) Cameron's sabotage. And now they're building more roads and poisoning our land by fracking to get the oil to "sustain" it all. Sigh...
Anne Thomas commented
The panels are installed in the UK not Denmark! 22,000 UK jobs have been created using a free energy source that will reduce pollution. If we don't pay a very small amount now we will spend a lot more later
I wholeheartedly support the development and implementation of a renewable energy and nuclear industry in the UK but, with the caveat that such an industry MANUFACTURES within the UK not just simple buying equipment from other countries and using low cost labour to install. Most of the wind generators come from Denmark! I do not wish to support anymore get rich quick merchants who, achieve very little to enhance the employment and development of a skilled and well paid workforce in this country. I have learnt these lessons after initially supporting efforts of James Dyson and Clarks shoes et al !
I support the the letter solar energy is the way forward and one of the growth industries at the present time which is costing very little to sustain it
I heard somewhere that it is "believed" that the current FIT is unsustainable.
How can that be when it doesn't cost anybody ? This was a brilliant opportunity for the government to prove they really do care about green issues.Agreed it's also a chance to turn savings into roof panels and make a better return on investment but it is also a chance for those on very low incomes to get free power via Solar panels supplied and installed for free (social housing) . All a bit of a "no brainer" , which I guess is why it is being stopped,just when its got going and providing new jobs etc etc. Not such a green government after all ??
Dan Grierson commented
I support the content of the letter. The UK needs to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Empowering people from the bottom up to save amd manage their energy is the only way that CO2 reduction will happen.