I am sorry that the Secretary of State cannot be here today. He is in Cumbria opening the world’s largest industrial offshore wind farm—another big step forward in the deployment of renewables under this coalition Government.
The Government have today announced ambitious plans to ensure the future of the feed-in tariffs scheme and make it more predictable. The reforms will lead to a bigger scheme, providing better value. The feed-in tariffs scheme provides a subsidy, paid for by all consumers through their energy bills, to enable small-scale renewable and low-carbon technologies to compete against higher-carbon forms of electricity generation. The unprecedented surge in solar photovoltaic installations in the latter part of last year, owing to a 45% reduction in estimated installation costs since 2009, has placed a huge strain on the feed-in tariffs budget. That threatened the Government’s ability to roll out small-scale low carbon technologies over the next few years in the numbers that we had wanted. We therefore acted as swiftly as possible to respond to the threat, through the changes we are now making to the tariffs for solar PV. Today is a turning point for the feed-in tariffs scheme.