The Government is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court later today against a High Court ruling that its plans to cut solar subsidy payments are illegal.
Jeremy Leggett, Chairman, Solarcentury comments:
“We have been expecting this but we hoped that Ed Davey would see sense and not take the appeal. If we are lucky this is just a cynical exercise to limit the market to 3rd March and they will withdraw in a few weeks. If not, and they really are serious about a Supreme Court appeal, then the implications for the renewables industry are deeply worrying.
Two weeks ago, Ministers reassured the industry that they wanted to see 4 million solar homes in the UK by 2020. This appeal completely undermines that claim. They need to stop rewriting the scheme, end the constant stop-start and provide long-term stability and meaningful returns for investors and customers and give certainty to the 30,000+ employees of this successful industry – one of the few that is actively creating jobs in this country.
If the appeal is successful it will allow Government to change feed-in tariffs whenever it chooses, even for projects that are already installed and supposedly guaranteed the feed-in tariff. At a stroke, this would undermine investment in all UK renewables, not just PV, and show investors that the UK government simply cannot be trusted.
Fortunately their arguments are weak. They are the same ones unanimously rejected by the Court of Appeal so I wouldn’t give them much chance of success.
Sadly, this appeal has the whiff of farce about it. First they try to woo private capital into infrastructure; then they mismanage it; now they go to the Supreme Court to argue for sovereign default to cover their tracks. I just hope the new Secretary of State actually understands what his lawyers are doing."
Notes to editors
1. Following a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun, the High Court ruled just before Christmas that Government plans to cut payments for any solar scheme completed after 12 December 2011 - 11 days before an official consultation into the proposal had even closed - were unlawful. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 25 January 2011.
2. Friends of the Earth's Final Demand campaign, which was launched in October last year, calls for energy we can all afford and a public inquiry into the power and influence of the Big Six energy companies www.foe.co.uk/finaldemand.