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To: Prime Minister Theresa May.
Remove additional business rates for solar panels.
In the UK, by the end of 2015, production and deployment of PV solar panels were way up with cost falling rapidly. Globally renewable generating capacity was doubling every two years, and the UK was playing a significant part in that essential growth.
Things started to deteriorate when the feed-in-tariff (FiT) was stopped. Obviously this could not last for ever, but according to Good Energy CEO Juliet Davenport the scale and speed of the cuts threaten to kill-off the new industry at birth.
As part of a long term strategy I would urge Prime Minister Theresa May to begin by immediately removing the additional business rate for solar panels.
In the longer term government should shift the burden of Corporation Tax away from any organisation operating in the renewable energy industry towards the fossil fuel sector. In addition companies directly supplying the hardware required for renewable generation, storage, plus renewable generators, should be paying 0% Corporation Tax with the corresponding tax burden shifted to the fossil fuel sector. This should stay in effect until the world is completely carbon free.
Why is this important?
A likely response by government is that the country could not afford it. The reality is the country and the world in general cannot afford to ignore this issue. Calculations based on a range of scientific studies over past decades (for summary see Ward, 2007) suggest a dangerous tipping point around 2040. This is the point where atmospheric CO2 will reach a concentration of 450 ppm if the world continues on its current trajectory. This danger point is where the IEA450 guideline gets its name. It is where an ocean conveyor (main ocean current) shutdown is predicted to happen due to the preferential warming of the Polar Regions.
The consequences of this scenario cannot be treated lightly – this is serious. If this event takes place then the oceans become stagnant and everything dies. Anaerobic (requiring no oxygen) microorganisms grow by feeding off the rotting marine carcasses. In the process this generates huge quantities of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) which ultimately poisons the atmosphere and kills everything on land as well. This was the mechanism for four out of the five great mass extinctions in the geological past. I make no apologies for this statement. The world’s leaders really must look up and take note, and we in the UK must play our part.
Ward PD, (2007), “Under a Green Sky”, Harper-Collins.