by Ian Vallely
I believe that everyone is entitled to my opinion!
DECC comes under fire as its renewables policy stumbles
Enlightened businesses have a single over-riding objective and it's not simply to boost profits. Rather, I believe it is about optimising customer service. If they do that, progressive companies know their reward will be bigger profits - in other words, doing the job well will inevitably result in higher earnings.
I think more contractors should be given the opportunity to improve their service to customers (and therefore their profits). This will be good for the sector as a whole and is one of the reasons I am in broad agreement with the Government's attempts to halve subsidies from the Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) scheme.
Surely, it makes solid business sense to maximise the number of installations possible within the available budget for FiTs rather than use available money to pay a higher tariff to half the number of installations.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says: "Solar PV can have a strong and vibrant future in UK and we want a lasting FiTs scheme to support that future and jobs in the industry."
I agree. But. having said that, it is difficult to see how the DECC could have got into any more of a pickle in its application of the policy, which was ham-fisted at best and a gross dereliction at worst.
As I write this, news is emerging that Chris Huhne has resigned as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and is facing a charge of perverting the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case.
Notwithstanding this major personal upset, the former Energy Secretary's problems really began a month earlier when the High Court ruled against his plans to halve subsidies from the FiT scheme. They were then compounded when the Court of Appeal handed down a negative judgment on the Government's appeal against the decision by the High Court.
Unsurprisingly, the DECC chose to "respectfully disagree" with the judgment and sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The unfortunate Mr Huhne refused to rule out the possibility that lower tariffs could be applied to installations which became eligible for FiTs on or after the proposed reference date.
Uncertainty is bad for business. The renewables sector will only flourish if Ministers provide a stable policy setting. I believe the Government was guilty of poor timing and presentation over its original ill-timed FiT decision - cutting the programme with little notice and before the consultation was complete was clumsy and awkward.
However, the decision itself makes perfect sense to me.