This week is the Government’s first ever Green Great Britain week (15 – 19 October 2018). Set to become an annual event, the Government’s vision for Green GB week is to highlight the opportunities presented by clean growth and raise awareness of how people can support climate action, not least of which is through households adopting small scale onsite renewable technologies to meet their heating and energy needs.
Green GB week launches on the 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act, a key driver behind the UK being seen as a world leader in cutting emissions and achieving economic growth. In its current form, the MCS scheme shares the same anniversary year, but can trace its roots back to 2002 and the UK Government’s Clear Skies initiative. At the time, Clear Skies was launched to support the growth of small scale onsite renewable technologies.
Today our focus has not changed. We provide the UK’s quality mark for microgeneration technologies that are used to produce electricity and heat from renewable sources. With over a million MCS certified installations across the UK, we are very proud of what has been achieved through high quality installations in which consumers can have confidence.
It is therefore puzzling, especially during the first ever Green GB week, that the Government has plans to close the Feed-In Tariffs (FiT) Scheme which has been successful in supporting small-scale low-carbon generation since 2010. MCS has strongly opposed the planned closure of FiT to new applicants after March 2019.
If adopted, small-scale low-carbon generation would be the only part of the low-carbon sector not supported by Government. It is our view that as a result, it would be only the well-heeled who can subsidise a commitment to a low carbon future. Community projects, the disadvantaged and the fuel poor will all be excluded. The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which attempts to meet the commitment of reducing emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050, does by definition necessitate decarbonising nearly all building heat and electricity generation.
While the closure of FiT is a challenge for all of us in the sector, at MCS we will work hard to ensure that the MCS scheme stays relevant, offering value to the industry beyond being just a gateway to subsidy.
As our Green GB week ‘Mission Possible Pledge’ (www.edie.net/mission-possible/pledges/), we commit to delivering a modern, fit for purpose certification scheme for small-scale low-carbon generation that is stronger, simpler and fairer. We will achieve this by:
- Driving market awareness of MCS as the recognisable badge that truly represents quality; something installers and manufacturers can be proud to be a member of and consumers will seek out and trust. When installers and manufactures achieve certification, we want consumers to notice.
- Ensuring a scheme that has teeth; through a new Compliance and Enforcement Manager and our licensed Certification Bodies, we will protect the integrity of the scheme and therefore its membership. Stronger enforcement will mean that those installers and manufacturers not willing or able to meet the scheme’s standards are forced out.
- Providing a valuable source of knowledge for scheme members via appropriate communications including newsletters, bulletins and digital channels so they can be informed, kept up to date and helped to be even better at what they do.
- Simplifying the scheme, for example the requirements around management systems to reduce the administrative burden on installers, while maintaining consistency and standards.
A month into my new job as CEO of MCSSCo, Green GB week is a timely reminder of how far MCS has come and of how important it is that we work together to develop a scheme for the next 10 years and beyond.
Ian Rippin, CEO of MCSSCo