* Coalition reconsiders feed-in tariffs vs ROCs
* No comment on possible carbon floor price
By Kwok W. Wan
FRINTON-ON-SEA, England, June 15 Britain's
multi-million pound offshore wind port fund, cited by turbine
manufacturers as a reason for UK investment, is under review,
the new energy minister Charles Hendry said on Tuesday.
Announced under the previous government, the 60 million
pound competition fund for port infrastructure was highlighted
by Germany's Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and U.S. company General
Electric (GE.N) as reasons behind nearly 200 million pounds of
turbine manufacturing investment. [ID:nLDE62S1UE]
The fund was intended to revamp Britain's ports to handle
large offshore wind turbine parts and other supply chain, but
the new Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government is reviewing
plans in order to cut public spending.
"It comes under the group of projects the previous
government wanted to give a lot of money to. We are looking
across the board at those commitments that were made," Hendry
said at a press briefing in south-east England.
Due to the size of offshore wind turbines, manufacturers
consider the renovation of Britain's ports as vital for
manufacturing, and may consider pulling out without the fund.
"In the course of the review, we're looking at the broad
picture, but we are very committed to providing supply chain
opportunities," he said.
Hendry said that the coalition was reconsidering its
position on feed-in tariffs and the Renewable Obligation
Certificate (ROC) scheme for subsidising renewable power
projects in the future.
The Conservatives election manifesto was in favour of
feed-in tariffs -- which would guarantee a steady level of
payment for renewable power generated -- while the Lib Dem
manifesto was not.
The Conservatives also wanted to scrap the ROC scheme for
new projects -- a system that pays a subsidy on top of the
wholesale market price -- only keeping it for existing projects.
"What we're doing at the moment is exploring the best way
forward. But some people have come to us and said that it is
easier to secure investment under Round 3 offshore wind project
if it was done on the feed-in tariff basis." Hendry said.
Britain awarded around 33 gigawatts of offshore wind farm
tenders earlier this year, making the country's hundred billion
pound wind market one of the biggest in the world.
Hendry reiterated the government's stance in favour of
building new nuclear power plants, but said that the fleet would
most likely not exceed its current position of supplying a fifth
of Britain's electricity needs.
"It's going to be some significant time, if ever, before it
gets above the 20 percent threshold," he said.
He repeated the belief that the planned floor price for
carbon emissions should be enough to encourage new nuclear
builds without subsidy, but declined to give a figure on what
that floor price may be.
Analysts say Britain must have a high carbon price or reform
the market if the country wants to build new nuclear power
plants to decarbonise power generation. [ID:nLDE653196]
(Editing by Alison Birrane)