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Boost in small scale AD before tariff cut

DECC has released Feed-in Tariff (FIT) deployment data for November 2014 which highlights that many developers made pre-accreditation applications in September in order to avoid the full force of Feed-in Tariff cuts, which are brought about by the degression policy. 

DECC’s data shows that 18 anaerobic digestion (AD) plants under 250 kWe were pre-accredited to the FITs scheme in November, twice the number approved in the previous record month for sub-250kW pre-accreditations (February 2014).

ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, commented:

While the pre-accreditation applications show some potential for small scale AD, they are also sadly symptomatic of the major challenge faced by project developers as a result of the further 10 per cent cut in FIT degression still to come. The industry has been supported this year by measures such as WRAP’s on-farm AD fund, but the full force of the April cuts will pull the rug from under the small scale AD sector before it’s able to establish itself and reduce operational costs.

Smaller scale AD has a raft of environmental benefits on top of generating electricity particularly in supporting farming, including recycling valuable nutrients, enhancing soil quality, odour reduction and huge carbon savings. In addition many UK businesses are in the process of developing technology and expertise which will be lost without the early-stage support which the current FIT level provides.

While the highest tariff degressions were designed to deal with ‘runaway’ deployment, due to the structure of the mechanism the reality is that FIT degression is hitting smaller scale AD despite low overall deployment. This goes against the spirit and intention of the policy, which will be hard to swallow for farmers, developers and their employees.

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