British Academics Call for Feed Law


The following letter appeared in the October 20, 2006 edition of the Guardian

We call upon the Government to adopt the ‘feed-in tariff’ mechanism for renewable energy. This is established and successful in other European countries with vigorous renewables growth and manufacture, e.g. Germany and Spain. It gives different, long term, guaranteed fixed prices for electricity exported to the grid from renewable technologies. This would improve the prospects of achieving the UK Government’s target of 20 % of electricity from renewables by 2020.

Carefully constructed feed-in tariffs could both increase renewables generation and also reduce the unit costs that electricity consumers now pay with the present system of ‘renewable obligation certificates’ (ROCs). Such appropriate feed-in tariffs would stimulate investment in offshore wind, wave, tidal current and other innovative renewable technologies. The Government should legislate a shift to feed-in tariffs for new schemes, whilst protecting the existing arrangements for schemes that are operational or in the pipeline.

For example, the French and German wind-power feed-in systems vary tariffs for onshore wind according to the on-site windspeeds. By contrast, the Government’s recently announced proposals for ‘banding’ will either mean that ‘high windspeed’ schemes will be paid more than they need or that ‘lower windspeed’ schemes will become uneconomic.

The Government’s proposals for banding are both complex and unlikely to be more cost-effective than existing arrangements. Several authoritative studies have concluded that the ROCs system increases unit costs compared to feed-in tariffs. Moreover, market-place uncertainty about future prices of both ROCs and electricity increases the total monetary cost of the Renewables Obligation by comparison with feed-in tariffs.

Signatories: (note: contact details set out below letter)

Dr David Toke, University of Birmingham,
Professor David Elliott, Open University
Professor John Twidell, Editor, Wind Engineering
Professor Chris Hendry, Cass Business School
Professor Robin Roy, Open University
Dr Tim Foxon, University of Cambridge
Dr Karsten Neuhoff, University of Cambridge
Godfrey Boyle, Open University
Paul Allen, Centre for Alternative Technology
Dr David Lal, Robert Gordon University
Paolo Agnolucci, Policy Studies Institute
Dr Dan van der Horst, University of Birmingham
Dr Bob Everett, Open University,
James Cusk, University of Cambridge
Dr Ian Fairlie, independent consultant

Dr David Toke,
Department of Sociology,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
e mail
Tel 0121 415 8616

Professor David Elliott,
Energy and Environment Research Unit,
The Open University, Milton Keynes,
MK 7 6AA
E mail:
Tel: 01908 65 3197

Professor John Twidell
Editor of the international journal ‘Wind Engineering’
AMSET Centre
Bridgford House
UK – LE16 8DH
E mail:
Tel: 01858 555 204

Professor Chris Hendry
Associate Dean (Research)
Director of Centre for New Technologies, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CENTIVE)
Cass Business School
106 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8TZ
e mail:
Tel: 020 7040 8666

Robin Roy, Professor of Design & Environment,
Department of Design & Innovation,
Faculty of Technology,
The Open University,
Milton Keynes MK7 6AA
tel: 01908 652944

Dr Tim Foxon,
4CMR – Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, Dept. of Land Economy,
University of Cambridge,
22 Rumpington St.,
Cambridge CB2 1QA.
E-mail: “Tim Foxon”
Tel.: 01223 764874

Karsten Neuhoff
Faculty of Economics
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DE
E mail:
Tel.: 01223 335290

Godfrey Boyle
Director, Energy & Environment Research Unit
Department of Design and Innovation, Faculty of Technology
The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.
Godfrey Boyle
e mail:
Telephone 01908 653335.

Paul Allen
Development Director
Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)
Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ, Wales, UK
E mail:
Tel 01654 705958

Dr David Lal,
The Robert Gordon University,
Aberdeen Business School,
Garthdee Road,
AB10 7QE
e mail:
Tel:01224 – 263833

Paolo Agnolucci.
Senior Research Fellow,
Policy Studies Institute
50 Hanson St, London, W1W 6UP
E mail:
Tel: 020 7911 7514

Dr Dan van der Horst
Lecturer (Environmental Management)
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES)
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom
E mail:
tel 01214145525

Dr Bob Everett,
Lecturer in Renewable Energy,
Energy & Environment Research Unit
Department of Design and Innovation,
Faculty of Technology
The Open University,
Milton Keynes MK7 6AA.
E mail:
Telephone 01908 653335

James Cust MA (Cantab)
Research Assistant
Faculty of Economics
Sidgwick Site
e mail:
Tel: 07816107680

Dr Ian Fairlie
115 Riversdale Road,
London N52SU
e mail:
Tel: 0207 354 1512