Thomas McMillan, Renewables Specialist at Smiths Gore, has described the current situation regarding current Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) as a last chance saloon, and is warning developers of renewables projects wishing to qualify for present Feed-in Tariff rates that have very little time left to apply.
It is understood that to qualify for current FiTs, applicants must have completed their application, have planning consent and a grid connection secured, and have received an acknowledgment from Ofgem by 31 December 2013. Thomas McMillan says:
In April 2014 FiT levels for most technologies are expected to be cut by 20 per cent, but those with pre-accreditation will be guaranteed existing levels for set periods depending on their technology - PV for 6 months, wind and AD for 12 months, and hydro for 2 years.
The deadline to secure pre-accreditation is 31 December 2013 and, given the Christmas break between now and then, this adds extra pressure to the timescale. Whilst it will be impossible for anyone entering the process with a blank sheet now to secure pre-accreditation, for schemes where planning and grid have been secured it is advisable to submit pre-accreditation applications in the next few days if not done already in order to meet the deadline.
As an example, a 100kW hydro scheme would currently generate in the region of £70,000 per annum from FIT payments. This would be reduced to £56,000 per annum with a 20 per cent cut to the FiT. Over the life of the subsidy which is guaranteed for 20 years this equates to a loss of potential revenue of £280,000.
While we acknowledge that there are many other priorities at this time of year, and particularly for the landowning and farming sector, we cannot emphasise enough that there is much to gain and equally much to lose for those who have not yet submitted their application to Ofgem and, in any case of doubt, professional advice and support could help to deliver a positive outcome.