New Solar Subsidy Cuts May Open Door For Gas, UK Government Says
The government has admitted its planned cuts to solar subsidies could cause construction of large scale solar plants to grind to a halt and instead inspire an increase in gas-fired generation.
The admission was made in its own impact assessment into theproposals to reduce support under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme for solar installations larger than 5 MW of capacity by 25 per cent from next year.
Under the plans, large solar farms would receive 1.5 RO certificates (ROCs) per MWh for systems installed from 1 April 2013, instead of the current 2 ROCs, which was proposed to be maintained in a previous consultation published in October last year.
This would then fall further to 1.3 ROCs the following year, 1.1 ROCs the year after and to 0.9 ROCs by 2016/17.
However, an impact assessment published by DECC yesterday shows the cuts could halt the building of new solar farms, the prospect of which is “terrifying”, according to one industry insider. [...]
The assessment also assumes that lower levels of solar PV deployment would be substituted with “lower cost” gas plants. It predicted that using Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plants, would help lead to total estimated government savings of £350-380m but would increase the UK’s CO2 emissions by around 0-0.6 megatonnes annually to 2050.