In Britain, solar firms that believed the government’s promise of endless and generous green energy subsidies are learning a hard lesson.
Feed-In Tariff (FiT) rates for solar projects are being slashed by half:
Hundreds of solar companies were likely to go bust by Christmas, it was claimed, after Greg Barker, the minister for climate change, said “feed-in tariff” subsidies were too generous and would be halved.
One solar businessman sees no future at all in a world without subsidies:
Daniel Green, the chief executive of Home Sun, a solar company, claimed that the Prime Minister had given him two personal assurances of his support for the solar industry. “They have effectively bankrupted thousands of companies,” he said. “Most of them will be gone before Christmas.
“We built a business on the back of David Cameron’s promises. He has betrayed us twice. Anybody thinking of investing in government-sponsored green opportunities, I would advise them to run away. All my business will stop with immediate effect if this goes through. It’s an extremely black day.”
Estimates are that up to 25,000 jobs will be lost as a result of the change to FiT rates. That’s not good news for any economy, but the big picture is that many more jobs may be saved by slashing green subsidies. British consumers and businesses are suffering as energy costs soar, with real worries about the number of seniors in fuel poverty this winter and major industries threatening to quit the country altogether.
If lower FiT rates can be converted into lower overall energy costs, it’s a good move for the country. The UK has admitted the cost of green energy is too high, just as Spain and Germany already learned. Britain lowered FiT rates for wind back in March.
In Ontario, even the merest threat of a cut to the FiT programs was enough to force a solar firm to cut shifts. Canadian solar (and wind) firms that based their business models on FiT rates up to 20 times the spot rate for a KWh should be very nervous about the news coming out of Britain today.
The sad fact is that everyone except green energy zealots and politicians in their thrall saw this coming.
Greens say we need sustainable energy, but solar and wind are not the answer. The wind may blow for free and the sun may shine for free, but current technology to capture and convert those resources into energy needs public money at an unsustainable rate. It’s inconvenient, but it’s the truth.