Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) explained

Aug 16, 2013

When the government announced changes to Feed-in Tariffs for hydropower schemes Mann Power managing director Dave Mann the move as a major step forward in the war on climate change. But what exactly are Feed-in Tariffs?

Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) are the electricity element of the government scheme that pays people to create their own ‘green’ power. They were introduced to help increase the level of renewable energy in the UK towards to the target of 15% of total energy from renewables by 2020. By introducing further bandings into the FITs scheme will, it is hoped, further encourage individuals and organisations with viable sites to invest in the renewable energy provided by hydropower turbines.

One recent MannPower scheme to be up and running is at Linton Lock, on the River Ouse between York and Harrogate. The Archimedean screw is particularly suitable for locations like Linton Lock, which is on an important salmon river and popular with fishermen, as it’s an exceptionally fish-friendly method of generating power. The Linton Lock scheme qualifies under the part of FITs that gives payments for electricity exported into the National Grid – as a 100kW scheme, it currently falls into the band that pays 12.1p per kWh for schemes producing between 100kW and 2MW. But the recent FITs review by the Department of Energy and Climate Change will introduce a new band
as of 1 December, paying 15.5p for schemes producing between 100kW and 500kW (100kW being approximately enough power for the ave
rage needs of 100 houses).

“It’s great that the new bandings have been introduced: it’s absolutely essential that we encourage people to explore the possibility of green energy,” said Dave. “They make smaller schemes much more economically viable: Linton Lock, for example, has enough flow for a bigger scheme producing much more energy, but the previous tariffs didn’t make it worth producing any more than 100kW. The new bandings are a step towards that viability for all sizes of scheme; we need to make green energy really attractive to the man in the street.”

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