Can UK's solar industry survive without subsidies?

Is Solar Power going to give the UK the energy it needs for the 21st century?

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3rdRock

Can UK's solar industry survive without subsidies?

Post by 3rdRock »

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... -subsidies
Putting solar on the chopping block may damage the industry badly at a time when it just needs that last push to become independent.
Energy experts believe a rumoured government plan to cut subsidies to solar could cripple the burgeoning industry just before it is able to stand on its own.

Late last week the government issued ambiguous warnings that the solar industry’s days of living off top-ups from bill-payers were numbered.

A cabinet source revealed to the BBC that the government view had hardened further towards green subsidies and a “big reset” was coming.

After onshore wind (currently the cheapest renewable energy in the country) had its subsidies cut last month, solar looks set to be next on the chopping block.

Solar insiders believe the feed-in tariff (FiT), levied from household bills and given to those who buy rooftop panels for their homes, will be severely restricted or abolished.
Whatever happened to the 'green agenda' we were promised?
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Post by johnhemming2 »

This is a question of detail. I was part of persuading the UK to introduce a feed in tariff and if oil prices were USD 300 a barrell Solar would not need a subsidy.

There has to be a point at which a subsidy is not needed. I don't, however, think that is today.

This is, however, a matter of detail rather than principle.
3rdRock

Post by 3rdRock »

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... ergy-costs
The government has unveiled sweeping plans to cut subsidies to the renewable energy sector, saying costs are out of control and the consumer must be protected from soaring bills.

The measures are more draconian than expected and Greenpeace argued it would badly damage investment and crush the credibility of David Cameron’s government on tackling climate change.

Following an earlier assault on onshore wind farms, solar energy and power generated by biomass – wood pellets and plants – are now in the main line of fire. The government proposals include removing a guaranteed level of subsidy for coal-powered plants that were to be converted to green energy.
DECC statement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cont ... ble-energy

Ruddy ridiculous! :wink:
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

3rdRock wrote:the consumer must be protected from soaring bills.
Translates as: the corporations who send out the bills want a bigger percentage of whatever bottom line they choose.
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Post by adam2 »

PV is not yet economic without subsidy, in most cases.
In view of the concerns about both climate change and reliance on fuel imports, it seems reasonable IMO to offer a modest subsidy, but perhaps less than is on offer at present.

Doubts are regularly expressed about the sufficiency of UK natural gas supplies. Since gas is now the marginal fuel for electricity production, it could reasonably be argued that each GWH of PV generated electricity is a corresponding volume of gas not used, and therefore available for future use.

The grid can accept appreciably more PV than is fed back at present, but there are limits as to how much can be readily accepted.
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Post by clv101 »

3rdRock wrote:the consumer must be protected from soaring bills.
The subsidies should never have come from bills in the first place. Horribly regressive. It should come from general taxation.
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Post by johnhemming2 »

Politics often has compromise choices. Eg, you can have a feed in tariff, but only by funding it from energy bills. The question is yes or no.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

The real killer is the future cost of nuclear which makes all other look decidedly good value. How come solar is too expensive but we can all afford nuclear energy?

If the government is serious about reducing the amount of gas used why do they not put up QE front money to have most houses in the country (they are a few which aren't suitable) insulated to an 80% saving at least. If they printed the money for this capital expenditure and then reclaimed it through the electricity bill on a similar basis to the Green Deal it would self finance after a while and wouldn't be inflationary.

As heating bills are about 40% of the energy use and an average 80% saving could be made they would be saving about 30% of the gas used.
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Post by snow hope »

kenneal - lagger wrote:The real killer is the future cost of nuclear which makes all other look decidedly good value. How come solar is too expensive but we can all afford nuclear energy?

If the government is serious about reducing the amount of gas used why do they not put up QE front money to have most houses in the country (they are a few which aren't suitable) insulated to an 80% saving at least. If they printed the money for this capital expenditure and then reclaimed it through the electricity bill on a similar basis to the Green Deal it would self finance after a while and wouldn't be inflationary.

As heating bills are about 40% of the energy use and an average 80% saving could be made they would be saving about 30% of the gas used.
Far to sensible Ken! And it wouldn't give all those billions to the 1 percenters..... :evil:
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Post by emordnilap »

Exactly what should have happened instead of the bank bailouts Ken. Basically, feed money in at the bottom, tax it out at the top. Can't have that! (and as they got away with the bailouts scot-free, they're gonna do it again).
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Post by johnhemming2 »

emordnilap wrote:they got away with the bailouts scot-free
What is it that happened with the bailouts? We have been through this before on another thread.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

This infografic shows why QE was a bad thing and why money put in at the bottom would have been much better.

Unfortunately you'll have to scroll down and "Download Print at Home version".

The £10 billion that they recommend just happens to be what it would take to get my National Insulation Scheme going - the one that I sent to John Hemming about three years ago.
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Post by johnhemming2 »

QE was not the bailouts. Furthermore it has not caused massive inflation or cost the general fund anything.

Simply printing money for extra demand leads more generally to inflation.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

johnhemming2 wrote:QE was not the bailouts. Furthermore it has not caused massive inflation or cost the general fund anything.
House prices? Stock market?

If QE was not a bail out what was it and why was it given?
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

I agree that print money for current account spending creates inflation but Positive money and I are not suggesting that we should do that. We are both suggesting that the money should be for capital investment, in my case for an insulation program for houses that would result eventually in a minimum 30% saving on the nation's gas import bill. In the meantime it would create 200,000, maybe more, skilled jobs in the construction and building material manufacturing sectors which would have a lifetime of 35 or more years as we worked our way through the 25 million houses in the country at an average rate of 650,000 per year.

The fuel savings would result in more spending in the economy, our economy not the fantasy financial sector, a bigger tax take for the government and a slight trickle up factor for the Kleptocracy (you have to give them something or they throw their rattles out of the pram!)

If the government invested in a couple of hundred thousand Housing Association houses each year there would be similar advantages to the economy as the cost of renting would reduce taking with it the Housing Benefit bill (if there's any thing left of that), the cost of purchasing a house would not rise and so, eventually, houses would become affordable again. This would again enable more money to be spent into the real economy as people kept more of their money rather than giving it to the banks in interest.

And of course more work would mean a bigger tax take and government borrowing could reduce without such a huge reliance on austerity measures. Using austerity measures alone is not a particularly intelligent way of reducing the government's share of the economy as the austerity measures themselves reduce GDP , the tax take and therefore act to increase the proportion of the economy that is the government's.

A judicious amount of capital spending would also put non debt money into the economy at a time when both government and the public are to a great extent maxed out on debt. If it's wrong for the government to take on unaffordable debt it must also be the same for the public. Indeed much of the crash was caused by sub prime lending by bankers who could no longer find safe borrowers.

Have our economists, bankers and politicians learnt anything from the crash? On current performance, I doubt it!
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