Azara Blog: Friends of the Earth supports ridiculous solar energy subsidies

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Date published: 2011/11/13

The BBC says:

Environmental charity Friends of the Earth is to take the government to court over plans to halve subsidies for households which install solar panels.

The charity said it had written to the government and asked it to agree to amend its proposals by Friday, but said it received only a "holding response".

It comes after the CBI criticised the government's decision to halve the "feed-in tariffs" earlier than planned.

The government said it would defend the challenge at judicial review.

"We're consulting on proposed new tariffs for a reason - to protect consumers from footing the bill for excessive subsidies," a spokeswoman said.

Under the "feed-in tariffs" programme, people in Britain with solar panels are paid for the electricity they generate.

The new tariff of 21p per kilowatt-hour, down from the current 43p, will take effect from 1 April, but in October the government said it would be paid to anyone who installs their solar panels after 12 December.

Once again Friends of the Earth has shown that it might as well be called Enemies of the People. This feed-in tariff represents a massive transfer of wealth from poor people to rich people, because it is the latter who are installing these solar panels, and it is the former who pay for it in terms of increased electricity bills.

Even the revised tariff is far too high, because it is still above what ordinary people actually pay for the normal retail rate of electricity, and anyone who wants to generate electricity should only be paid the wholesale rate, not the retail rate.

All in all this whole subsidy idea is a ridiculous policy and the sooner the government removes the subsidies completely, the better. Energy subsidies (implicit or explicit) are what have created the relevant environmental problems in the first place. You would think that a so-called environmental group might understand this, since it is just Environmentalism 101.

It is never a good sign when a so-called environmental group is on the same side of an issue as the CBI. Of course the latter wants the subsidies to continue because they represent corporate welfare, which the CBI can never seem to say no to.

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