DECC dodges MPs' scrutiny over renewable energy subsidy cuts

by Search Gate staff. Published Wed 22 Jul 2015 18:07, Last updated: 2015-07-22
Energy Ministers dodge scrutiny in Parliament
Energy Ministers dodge scrutiny in Parliament

Energy Ministers have been accused of breaking Cabinet Office guidelines to speed through the consultation period relating to cuts to renewable energy subsidies.

DECC sneaked out its announcement the day after Parliament broke up for summer recess and the six-week consultation will finish before MPs return in the autumn.

The shortened consultation also runs across the traditional summer holiday period.

Friends of the Earth political campaigner Oliver Hayes said: “Today’s announcement of planned solar cuts reveals a Government showing clear disregard for meaningful public participation.

“Trailed in the media for weeks but not launched until the day MPs break for recess, we now learn the consultation on these proposed significant changes not only runs wholly during the holiday period but closes before Parliament returns in the autumn.

“This is totally inadequate – even by the Cabinet Office’s own guidelines – and we believe the Government must substantially extend the consultation to ensure meaningful, democratic engagement on these hasty changes”

The Chair of Parliament's Energy and Climate Change Committee, Angus Macneil MP, commented: “I am disappointed that the Government has made these announcements after the House of Commons has risen for the summer recess, as proper scrutiny in Parliament will now not be possible until after the consultation deadlines.

“The measures announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change today raise more alarming questions for investors in low carbon, renewable technologies who are already struggling to finance projects after a series of sudden policy changes.

“The latest changes remove the current certainty for the lowest cost renewable technologies whilst failing to provide any indication of the future investment landscape. DECC has stated that it will set out totals for the Levy Control Framework beyond 2020 but has given no indication of when it will provide this information leaving industry in limbo.

“Energy developers seeking support under the Contracts for Difference will now be left waiting for DECC to announce its plans for future CfD allocations. It is important that value for money is at heart of decision making on energy, but removing this certainty today actually risks raising the cost of capital and thus slowing down the steep cost-reduction pathway of technologies that will be needed in the next decade.

“Removing support for the lowest cost renewable technologies calls into question once more the Government's commitment to meeting out medium- and long-term decarbonisation targets, sending out a worrying signal in the run up to the Paris climate change conference.”

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