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DECC unveils renewable energy subsidy proposals

Proposals for the development of renewable electricity investment in the UK have been unveiled by the Department for Climate Change (DECC).

One significant policy move is that the budget for Contracts for Difference (CfD) will be divided into established technologies and less established ones. The former includes energy from waste with combined heat and power (CHP) while the latter could include anaerobic digestion (AD) or dedicated biomass with CHP.

DECC says criteria used to select the appropriate grouping includes the maturity of the technology and industry; levels of UK and global deployment now and in the future; the potential for further cost reductions; and contribution to decarbonisation.

In all, four documents have been published:

On the FIT proposals, DECC says it wants to see communities benefiting from ownership of renewables projects so it could increase the maximum capacity for community AD, hydro onshore wind and solar photovoltaics projects from 5MW to 10MW under the scheme. It is also considering what more can be done to allow grants to be combined with FIT payments for community projects up to 5MW.

A statement on the proposals said: “[They] are about ensuring the right balance of support for renewables and a smooth transition to the Government’s new Contracts for Difference, securing the further investment we need to provide clean, green and secure energy, whilst continuing to deliver value for money for energy bill-payers.”

The department says the UK’s renewable electricity capacity has doubled since 2010 in which period £34bn of private sector investment has been announced with the potential to support almost 37,000 jobs.

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