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Concerns raised over pace of energy market reforms

A leading developer in renewable energy has warned over the lack of pace in the reforms of the government’s recent Energy Market Reform White Paper.

Biomass developer Gaia Power manager John Harmer has warned that the proposed energy market reforms are taking too long to come on board and could pose arisk to renewable projects.

“We don’t know the levels of feed in tariffs (Fits) yet so we’re having to ask our investors to take a punt on rates of return,” said Harmer.

“There is nervousness [in the government’s timescale] because it took eight months [from the consultation] to the white paper.”

In the new energy market legalisation, renewable energy suppliers will receive a form subsidy through Fits, replacing the existing renewable obligation certificate (Roc), which are due to be phased out by 2017.

Harmer is working on a biomass plant in Teesside which was due to be constructed in 2008, but has been postponed due to the previous government’s review of Rocs. He is now awaiting the outcome of the energy market reforms before going ahead with construction.

“We were due to have four biomass plants in place by now, but at the moment we have none,” he said.

Renewable Energy Association chief executive officer Gaynor Hartnell added, “we have pushed the Department of Energy and Climate Change on possible rates for Fits, and while they have given no firm answer, they have indicated they are likely to be similar, or a little bit less than the existing Rocs.”

 

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