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(d) which persons and installations generating from renewable sources shall be eligible for the renewable energy tariff, and any provisions to exclude installations accredited under the renewables obligation;
(d) that any requirement to ensure the safety and welfare of fish in a watercourse on which a hydro-microgeneration plant is situated is proportional to the risk of detriment to the safety and welfare of fish.
(4) Any reference to the generation of electricity under this or any other act which applies to hydro-microgeneration shall apply as though the reference was to the generation of electricity by means of any hydro-turbine of less than 100kW capacity.
(a) transmission system operators and distribution system operators guarantee the transmission and distribution of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, without prejudice to the maintenance of the reliability and safety of the grid;
(c) when dispatching electricity generating installations, transmission system operators shall give priority to generating installations using renewable energy sources insofar as the security of the national electricity system permits;
(d) transmission system operators and distribution system operators are required to set up and publish their standard rules relating to the bearing and sharing of costs of technical adaptations, including grid connections and grid reinforcements, which are necessary in order to integrate new producers feeding electricity produced from renewable energy sources into the interconnected grid, and that such rules
(i) shall be based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria taking particular account of all the costs and benefits associated with the connection of these producers to the grid and of the particular circumstances of producers located in peripheral regions and in regions of low population density,
(iii) shall provide for the sharing of costs to be enforced by a mechanism based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria taking into account the benefits which initially and subsequently connected producers as well as transmission system operators and distribution system operators derive from connections;
(e) transmission system operators and distribution system operators are required to provide any new producer wishing to be connected to the system with a comprehensive and detailed estimate of the costs associated with the connection;
(f) the charging of transmission and distribution fees does not discriminate against electricity from renewable energy sources, including in particular electricity from renewable energy sources produced in peripheral regions, such as island regions, and in regions of low population density;
(g) fees charged by transmission system operators and distribution system operators for the transmission and distribution of electricity from plants using renewable energy sources reflect realisable cost benefits resulting from the plants connection to the network.
(2) The Secretary of State shall review and take the necessary measures to improve the frameworks and rules for bearing and sharing of costs referred to in paragraph (d) by 30th June 2011 at the latest, and every two years thereafter, in order to ensure the integration of new producers.
(d) gas network operators are required to set up and publish their standard rules relating to the bearing and sharing of costs of technical adaptations, such as gas network connections and gas network upgrades, which are necessary in order to integrate new producers feeding gas produced from renewable energy sources in to the interconnected gas networks, and that such rules
(i) shall be based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria taking particular account of all the costs and benefits associated with the connection of these producers to the gas networks and of the particular circumstances of
producers located in peripheral regions and in regions of low population density,
(iii) shall provide for the sharing of costs to be enforced by a mechanism based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria taking into account the benefits which initially and subsequently connected producers as well as gas network operators derive from the connections;
(f) the charging of transport fees does not discriminate against gas from renewable energy sources, including in particular gas from renewable energy sources produced in peripheral regions, such as island regions, and in regions of low population density; and
(2) The Secretary of State shall review and take the necessary measures to improve the frameworks and rules for bearing and sharing of costs referred to in paragraph (d) by 30th June 2011 at the latest, and every two years thereafter, in order to ensure the integration of new producers..
Alan Simpson: The Minister for Energy just made the point that we want to empower citizens to take a more active lead in addressing the challenge of climate change and the shift to renewable energy systems. In many ways, new clause 4 specifically addresses that challenge. Internationally, it is arguable that the mechanism it deals with is by far the most effective one for engaging citizens and delivering a dynamic sense of change.
In presenting this new clause, I begin by giving credit to those who have given enormous support, in the House and outside, to the principle behind it and the commitments we are asking the House to enter into today. There is an astonishing array of supporters of the new clause, including the House Builders Federation, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Federation of Master Builders, the National Farmers Union, the WWF, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Trades Union Congress, Greenpeace, the Country Land and Business Association, the UK Green Building Council, Energywatch, the Energy Saving Trust, the Co-op Groupwhich has clad its own headquarters in solar panelsSharp UK, Solarcentury, National Energy Action, the Solar Trade Association, the Ground Source Heat Pumps Association, and interestingly enough, Lily Allen and The Premises studios.
In these days of celebrity, it almost becomes obligatory to have a celebrity on board when arguing a
worthy cause, but Lily Allen has a fair claim to be recognised as part of that list. She and the company that she is part of in The Premises studios in Hackney, London, have installed an array of about 18 solar panels on the roofsimilar to the array on my homewhich generate the electricity that powers the studios. I know that she has written to all of my parliamentary colleagues to say that such action should not just be the prerogative of those in a position to do it as a matter of principle. The Government should reach out actively to promote it in order to make citizens the drivers of dynamic change.
In this House, we have to ask how we begin to bridge the gap between UK undertakings and where we need to be by 2020, and how we bridge the gap between where the UK is now and the position of many of our international comparator countries. The international picture is this: almost 50 countries have introduced some sort of feed-in tariff legislation. As a result, most of those countries are well ahead of the UK in delivering a proportion of energy from renewable sources. The UK currently delivers about 2 per cent. of its energy from renewable sources. According to the aspirations that have been teased out from the Bill, it is clear that, at best, the UK will reach a position where it might be delivering 5 per cent. of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. We have entered into an EU commitment to deliver 15 per cent. of our energy from renewable sources by that time. It is quite clear, therefore, that we will need a quantum shift in the policy framework to allow the UK to deliver 15 per cent. of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Steve Webb: The hon. Gentleman makes a powerful case, but is it not a source of national embarrassment that in order to get an EU average of 20 per cent., the UK has been set a target of only 15 per cent., because we are starting so late and from so far behind? Does that not reinforce his point?
Alan Simpson: It is an embarrassment, and those who have read the Lily Allen letter will recall that it is described as a national disgrace. However, we need to remember that 10 years ago Germany started from a similar position and already, this year, it has exceeded its 2010 targets. It now delivers more than 14 per cent. of its energy from renewable sources, and it has made a step-change transition within the same sort of period that we will have to make one. None of those achievements is outside our reach; the question is whether the achievements are outside our vision. Do we have the political will to make the shift?
Colin Challen (Morley and Rothwell) (Lab): I fully support new clause 4. I wonder whether my hon. Friend agrees that Germany has gone down that road not just because of climate change or for environmental reasons, but because it wanted a new industrial strategy for creating jobs, wealth and exports without breaching EU state aid rules. Has it not squared the circle?
Alan Simpson: It has squared the circle. When we address costs, it is important that we recognise the phenomenal savings associated with a shift to a feed-in tariff system, and the economic gains that come with it. Germany is an astonishing exemplar of that.
I paid tribute to organisations outside this House for their support for the new clause. I also want to pay tribute to support that I have had from within the House. More than 100 of my Labour colleagues have added their names to early-day motion 890, which stands in my name. The collaboration on this matter involves all the Opposition parties, including the minority parties. Every single party has come together behind this new clauseit has the blessing of an almost unanimous House.
I say almost because we come to the stumbling block: the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. So far, we have been unable to persuade the Minister or the civil servants to take the revolutionary step of returning to the House within one year of the passage of this Bill with proposals for feed-in tariff regulations that relate to renewable electricity, heat and gas. I find that sad, because the Government will have it do it anyway. There is a commitment to conduct a review of the microgeneration strategy, and that must report back in six months. During the French presidency, the UKs 15 per cent. target will be defined. Britain will not be allowed to pay someone else to do the job for uswe must do it ourselves. The matter will be forced back on our agenda, and we must determine the policy mechanisms that will allow us to deliver.
The principal objections that I have heard so far to the new clause are fairly spurious. It is claimed that feed-in tariffs are expensive and that their adoption would somehow mess up the success of the renewables obligation, which Britain introduced six years ago. I shall try to deal with those objections.
First, those who have been involved in discussions with the German Government do not understand the claims that the feed-in tariff system is expensive. It is less expensive than the intervention measures that the UK Government introduced and are currently in place but which have delivered little. The figures from the German Government for feed-in tariff costs last year show that they contribute approximately €35about £25to the average German household energy bill. If we total the current UK intervention measuresthe climate change levy, climate change agreements, the renewables obligation, the carbon emissions reduction target, contributions from the energy industry and the emissions trading schemethey add more than £150 to the average UK household energy bill and deliver next to nothing.
The claims that the new clause will mess up the renewables obligation do not stand up either. We could continue with it and the Minister would be free to return in a year with a scheme that did not intrude on support for developing offshore wind, but allowed for a much more imaginative feed-in tariff system relating to a series of initiatives for decentralised energy provision, without which we almost certainly cannot deliver our eco town or eco city aspirations. None is deliverable without a more serious engagement with decentralised energy and a feed-in tariff system.
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