A Feed in Tariff is considered to be a special rate that is applied to electricity that is generated and or exported to the grid. ie If I generate 1unit, I am paid at a certain rate by somebody, usually my electricity supplier.
It was expected to be included in the April 2008 Budget, but Alistair Darling simply promised to investigate over the summer. In October Milliband anounced he would be bringing in a Feed in Tariff, in November the new energy bill confirmed this, but no date, no detail, just a promise.
In Germany (Guardian: Germany sets shining example in providing a harvest for the world) there are Feed in Tariffs set by the state which is set at 4 times the market rate for electricity. This is not just for the amount exported to the grid, but for all energy generated!
By setting this beneficial rate, the amount of solar energy generated in Germany is 200 times greater than the UK. A decent payment totally transforms the economics of domestically generated renewable energy, the payback time then becomes realistic and it takes the installation and generation on from ‘trailblazers’ like me to the mainstream.
Would it make that much of a difference? Yes! With a return on investment of maybe 8% – 9%, it immediately makes sense to extend a mortgage or invest in renewables rather than saving! As to the impact to Britain’s commitment to 20% renewables by 2020, look at the rate of change of consumer goods, the spread of digital TV, or earlier the take up of satellite dishes.
Implementing Feed in Tariffs will make it practical to invest in the development and sale of more innovative microgeneration. Perhaps sterling engined heaters (Microgen). Or cheap VAWTs (Vertical Axis Wind Turbines) for the domestic market. These are the far more attracitive turbines that spin on a vertical axis. They are far more suited to chimney or wall mounting as the gyroscopic effect of their spinning will act to stabilise, while the traditional wind turbine places stress on the mountings, the more wind the more stress.
With Feed in Tariff’s the UK has a chance of developing a renewable energy economy. Without? well all the statements from Govt etc are just hot air!
The Govt has now anounced (Nov 2008) that it intends to introduce Feed in Tariffs, but no timetable! I intend to do more excercise, eat better… a meaningless statement until it happens. What we have had from this Government is been nothing but promises and words. Also see: Government urged to improve ‘feed in tariff’ scheme for renewable energy again from the Guardian, but sums it up well.
A suggestion. If it is so difficult to implement these Feed in Tariffs, why not simply start by stating that Microgenerated Electricity will be purchased at a rate the same as the highest tariff charged to the consumer! My exported electricity is paid for at about 8p by e.on but I pay about 30p each for the 1st 900 units! Then it dips to just over 9p.
Also please sign my petition http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Feed-in-Tariffs/