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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Farmers welcome review of charges scheme

ENERGY minister Greg Barker has confirmed the government will launch a review of the feed-in tariff for small-scale anaerobic digestion in January.

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GREG BARKER

The AD industry has been calling for a review because the policy as currently designed will trigger a tariff reduction for small scale AD in April, even though hardly any plants have actually been built at this scale.

This reduction, if left unchecked, would make small-scale AD, including on farms, economically unviable.

The Renewable Energy Association has been working to make the case to the government, along with efforts from organisations including the Country Landowners’ Association and National Farmers’ Union.

REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: “The industry has been united in calling on Greg Barker to commit to a review of the AD FIT before Christmas, so we warmly welcome this letter from the minister. It is very encouraging ahead of the autumn statement to see ministers and officials really listening and responding to industry concerns.

“The simple fact is that if this situation isn’t resolved, the on-farm AD industry will grind to a halt. The timely announcement of the review gives government a good chance of fixing the situation quickly enough to preserve the majority of existing projects and keep the door open for further growth.”

Farmers have been increasingly looking to AD to generate an income from farm wastes and residues, by converting them into renewable bio-gas and bio-fertiliser.

However, support for the sector is set to reduce to uneconomical levels in April even though hardly any on-farm AD plants have actually been built.

The review is intended to ensure that the policy works for AD at all scales, including small-scale and on farms.

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