The Minister for energy and climate change, Greg Barker, has revealed that the solar farm flood victims will sadly not be allowed to have a grace period to connect to the solar power feed-in tariff before the 1st April 2014 due to the rate dropping.
Lee Mason who works for DNO Consulting sent Greg Barker an appeal to offer a grace period for flood-affected farms. The Minster for energy and climate change stated that he acknowledged and appreciated the difficult situation that the developers are currently in. However, due to the deadlines being preserved in law, there just wasn’t sufficient time to rectify the legalisation before the Renewable Obligation (RO) deadline on the 1st April 2014.
Mr Barker wrote: “I am afraid there is insufficient time to change the RO legalisation to implement a grace period before the support rate reduces on 1st April. We estimate it would take at least 6 months to effect a change in the legalisation because there would have to be a banding review, a consultation and the legalisation would have to be scrutinised by both Houses of Parliament under the affirmative procedure.”
The Government had also considered whether it would be able to offer a grace period for affected solar programs. Nonetheless, a grace period could only be achieved through a banding review which would generate a handful of problems and issues.
The energy and climate change Minister continued: “It is possible for banding reviews to lead to increases in support levels for stations that have already been accredited, but because various statutory factors have to be considered in any such review, there could be no guarantee that in this case a banding review and consultation would lead to the introduction of a grace period to bring flood-affected solar farms that had accredited after 31 March at the 1.4 ROC band into the 1.6 ROC band. In addition, such a change could not be backdated to cover the electricity which was generated before the legislation implementing the grace period came into force.”
Be that as it may, Barker has written to the District Network Operations to advise them to do all they can to facilitate these new connections, while recognising the efforts to reconnect existing electricity customers must continue to take priority