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Citizens Advice Response to BEIS’s Call for Evidence on the Future of Small Scale Low Carbon Generation

30 August 2018

Citizens Advice Response to BEIS’s Call for Evidence on the Future of Small Scale Low Carbon Generation [ 170 kb]

Citizens Advice welcomes the opportunity to respond to the government’s call for evidence on the future of small-scale low-carbon generation.

The government is currently proposing to close down the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FiT) and is canvassing for ideas on whether and how it should support small-scale low carbon generation in a post-FiT world. The government has expressed the view that “small-scale low-carbon electricity generation… should compete independent of direct subsidy and on its own merits on a level playing field with other electricity generation technologies through competitive, market-based solutions.”

We broadly agree with the government’s view, noting that the price of low-carbon microgeneration – especially solar PV – has come down rapidly and seems likely to continue falling apace. We believe that small-scale low carbon generation can survive without new subsidy but argue that some government support is needed to smooth that transition.

We are therefore proposing that – after closing the FiT generation tariff – the government should extend a subsidy-free version of the FiT export tariff set at a discount to the wholesale electricity price. This would provide a last resort market for electricity exported by small-scale low carbon generators after March 2019 and should serve to smooth the transition to market-based solutions, giving these more time to develop and allowing more of the enabling infrastructure to support those solutions (such as smart meters and half-hourly settlement) to be put in place.

We are also proposing that to be eligible for this revised, subsidy-free export tariff, FiT generators should be required to accept a smart meter from their energy supplier. This would end deemed export for all new FiT participants from April 2019 and help prepare them to access some of the new markets that will arise for the electricity they generate.