Solar 'Feed-in Tariff'
As you will be aware, the Government has recently consulted on this issue and, having considered the feedback and evidence, Ministers have decided to close the export tariff alongside the generation tariff to new applications after 31 March 2019.
While I appreciate your concerns on this decision, I can assure you that households and businesses installing new solar panels will be guaranteed payment for power provided back to the grid under new proposals set out by the Government. Our country generates electricity from increasingly low carbon sources and the electricity powering the UK's homes and businesses in 2017 was the greenest ever, with 50 per cent coming from clean sources, up from 19 per cent in 2010. Ultimately, the UK has been a world leader in cutting emissions while growing our economy, and in doing so has demonstrated to the world what is possible when government and industry come together to tackle big strategic challenges.
As proposed, the 'Smart Export Guarantee' (SEG) would replace the existing 'Feed-in Tariff' (FIT) scheme, with electricity suppliers paying new small-scale energy producers for excess electricity from homes and businesses being put back into the energy grid. The new scheme could create a whole new market, encouraging suppliers to competitively bid for this electricity, giving exporters the best market price while providing the local grid with more clean, green energy, unlocking greater choice and control for solar households over buying and selling their electricity. The Government is currently consulting on these proposals and more information can be found here.
With the cost of solar falling by 80 per cent since 2008, it is the right time to review the way these payments are made, with the FIT scheme currently costing bill-payers around £1.2 billion a year. The SEG would mean households and businesses installing new renewable energy generators would be paid transparently for the energy they produce, protecting consumers from cost burdens. It could also reduce strain on energy networks with a decentralised and smarter local network delivering resilience much more cost effectively.
Last year saw the launch of the Clean Growth Strategy which sets out 50 major policies and plans that will help us to cut the cost of energy, drive economic growth, create high value jobs right across the UK, and improve our quality of life. The Feed-in-Tariff call for evidence reaffirms the Government's ambition set out in the Clean Growth Strategy to consider its approach to small-scale low-carbon generation and to explore the clear cross overs with a smart energy system.
Wind Farms and Low-frequency Noise
Thank you for writing to me regarding the World Health Organisations report Wind Turbine Noise as a Health Hazard. I am grateful to you for bringing this to my attention as it is not a campaign of which I was previously aware. I will certainly maintain an interest in this topic and will keep your comments in mind if this is debated in the Chamber.