I tire quickly of the simplification of politics in which everyone is left or right. The reality of my life is that there are policies in nearly all political parties that I like, as well as those I hate.
One area that I wish that all parties would unite on is the importance of tackling climate change. This is vital for our future generations, but also offers a great opportunity for the UK to have technical and industrial leadership in the world.
An example of wrong political thinking in the political arena is the sudden withdrawal of the Feed-In-Tariff scheduled to end in March 2019. The Feed-In-Tariff is a small incentive that pays a small sum each quarter to people who generate solar energy. It is not a very expensive incentive, and has been tapering down for a number of years which is a sensible approach. So why now remove it with a jolt. Such step changes tend to have larger impacts on industry. Even though the net benefit on end users is not huge, it will inevitably drive a peak in demand up until March, followed by a decline in demand. This ‘lumpiness’ makes managing businesses harder and will certainly result in some job losses in the industry when it switches off.
So I thought I would add my bit into the mix by writing to my local MP Mike Penning. I have included my email below if you are interested. I was delighted that he responded immediately by writing a letter to the Secretary of State (on proper House of Commons paper!) passing on my concerns and requesting his detailed response.
That was a week ago, and I have heard nothing yet… watch this space.
Of course, these sorts of thing are most effective when many people do it, so please do write to your MP and raise your voice if you agree with the sentiment.
My email to Mike Penning
We have met on a couple of occasions. I used to work in the oil and gas industry and hosted you at an event with Subsea UK at the houses of parliament. You also gave me and my family a wonderful tour of the house of commons in 2017.
Since we first met I have changed industry and started a company focused on Solar and battery storage; part of the new energy revolution that is changing the way energy is managed and delivered in this country.
I am concerned that the Feed-In-Tariff is currently planned to abruptly end for new registrations in March 2018. I am not alone in this concern: https://www.r-e-a.net/news/new-data-shows-significant-solar-job-losses-if-full-government-proposals-enacted
I can understand government wanting to save money, but it is particularly tragic that an established and thriving industry is likely to shrink dramatically because of a step change.
The Feed-in-tariff is relatively inexpensive, and it makes much more sense to just keep ramping it down if desired rather than stop it completely.
Please may I ask you to take this up with your colleagues to support a significant and growing industry during a time of significant other change? The solar industry is vital to slow down climate change and help us lead the world in green energy adoption and innovation.