Some people really don\’t understand about trade, do they?
Britain could become a booming market for solar power from next year when the UK introduces a support system used successfully by dozens of other countries.
Last week 240 MPs signed a parliamentary motion supporting the mass rollout of solar photovoltaic (PV) power. The support was the biggest of any such motion introduced in this parliament.
Colin Challen MP, who tabled the motion, said: \”There is an enormous opportunity to drive forward this technology through the forthcoming feed-in tariffs.\”
Feed-in tariffs (FITs) work by paying a guaranteed, above-market price for any electricity fed into the grid for a period of 20-25 years. They have been designed to offer returns close to 10%, thereby reducing payback times for any household investing in a PV system to 10 years or less.
Similar tariffs have boosted solar power in the 50-odd countries that have introduced them in the past decade, in turn promoting production of PV panels and pushing down prices to the extent that PV will not need subsidies for much longer.
That other countries have been subsidising like mad (and at great cost to consumers) and thus increasing market size and allowing economies of scale to bring prices down is not an argument in favour of the UK doing the same thing.
It\’s actually an argument aganst the UK doing the same thing.
Once those other countries have spent their billions with gay abandon then solar PV will indeed be cheaper than coal generated electricity at the point of consumption and that\’s when we start installing it. We don\’t need to spend billions ourselves to make this happen. For it will happen anyway, whether we spend billions or not.
Even if we were to say that we should take some of the pain ourselves, what we should be doing is spending those billions on something else. What we shouldn\’t be doing is subsidising something which is already inevitable. That\’s just pissing money away.
Jerermy Leggett, chairman of the British solar group Solar Century, says the British market has tremendous potential but is also concerned that some officials at the Department for Energy and Climate Change may stall the introduction of the FIT at the behest of groups arguing that nuclear power is the answer.
\”If so, UK plc will essentially have to sit and watch as other countries create jobs, tax income and energy security in one of the fastest-growing industries within the emerging green industrial revolution.\”
Sigh yes Jeremey, and jobs are a cost of such schemes, aren\’t they? And it\’s interesting to note that he says nothing about who is going to have to pay a higher cost for all this job creation: the consumer.