Sun farms, converting sunlight to electricity on a large scale, were being planned for this region until the government declared its intention to rewrite the tariff for green electricity last weekend – and could still be viable, according to one specialist.
The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for electricity from renewables was published only a year ago and both the National Farmers Union and the Country Land & Business Association say changing the rules now is unfair and short-sighted.
But the Department of Energy and Climate Change says the original FiT was threatening to create more solar power than DECC could afford while failing to provide enough incentive for turbines linked to anaerobic digesters, producing gas.
DECC is officially “consulting” but is proposing to halve the payments for solar production feeds of more than 50 KW and add a little extra for digester power from August 1. However, it wants to make conditions to discourage the use of crops as opposed to waste in digesters – which the farmers’ lobby says is also a mistake.