Jobs in Huddersfield area under threat if Government solar cuts go ahead
As world leaders gather at the UN climate talks this week to negotiate legally-binding cuts to carbon emissions, Huddersfield Friends of the Earth is calling for the Government to ‘Save our Solar’ and withdraw its proposals to slash support for solar energy. The group are concerned that the move to reduce the solar Feed in Tariff by 87% will ‘cut a thriving solar industry off at its knees’. The group warns that over 20 people in the Huddersfield area stand to lose their jobs, if Government plans to cut support for solar energy get the go-ahead, with at least 9 of those jobs already under threat in the area.
Local solar firms and environmental groups met with Huddersfield MP Jason McCartney recently to discuss the threat to local jobs. Two large solar firms in England have already shut down their operations, laying off nearly 2,000 people, with a further 27,000 jobs under threat nationwide. Huddersfield Friends of the Earth is aware of at least 26 people employed locally in the solar industry, and it has been estimated that 80% of them stand to lose their jobs.
Duncan Walpole, MD of Slaithwaite renewables company EnviroMental Energy said:
“A large cut in the solar Feed in Tariiff (FIT) will seriously affect the UK solar industry. The Government must reduce tariffs slowly, in a planned way, or it will pull the carpet from under this fledgling industry that has such potential. We are calling on Jason McCartney MP to help protect and grow local jobs and build an integrated, steady path towards a low carbon, cost-effective and secure energy future”.
Neal Mortimer from Holmfirth-based renewables consultancy Morri Consult, said: “The proposed cuts to the solar Feed in Tariff are part of a wider problem in the renewables business in general, in that the continual reviews of all tariffs does not support business continuity or help business planning.”
Chayley Collis, from Huddersfield Friends of the Earth, said:
“Government cuts to solar energy support threaten over 20 jobs in the Huddersfield area. Since the introduction of support through the feed-in tariff in 2011, the industry has flourished . The price of solar has come down considerably to the point where it is just a few years away from no longer needing financial support. The Government’s current plans would wreck that, causing our carbon emissions to increase and putting thousands of people across the country out of work. We need our MPs to speak out strongly against these cuts.
“Thanks to Jason McCartney MP who has agreed to meet up with Amber Rudd, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, to find out what assessment ministers have made of the impact on solar jobs in Colne Valley constituency and the associated economic impact. We look forward to hearing the outcome of those discussions.”
More information: huddersfieldfoe.wordpress.com
Huddersfield Friends of the Earth research October/ November 2015