Tories pledge to end onshore wind subsidy

RenewableUK has spoken out against the Conservative Party’s plans to scrap subsidy for onshore wind, should they win the 2015 general election.

Energy minister Michael Fallon is widely reported to have said that any project not already granted planning permission would not recieve government funds.

He added that subsidy is no longer needed as the UK has, or will have, enough wind power to meet EU 2020 targets with 13.8GW of wind capacity built, or in the pipeline.

Councils in England & Wales will also be handed stronger powers to reject plans for onshore wind farms, ending the current status quo where decisions are made by national planning bodies.

“Renewable energy, including onshore wind, has a key role in our future energy supply,” he told the BBC.

“But we now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there’s no requirement for any more.”

RenewableUK has rejected the proposal to end subsidy as a poor deal for taxpayers and the electorate at large with the majority of voters backing wind power over alternatives such as fracking.

It adds that abandoning subsidy overnight, rather than a managed degression of subsidies, would jeopardise investment in UK infrastructure and put jobs at risk.  

Onshore wind is the lowest cost form of renewable energy we have, and cheaper than new nuclear,” said RenewableUK’s chief executive Maria McCaffery.

“The industry has already seen a reduction in financial support, and a trajectory for further reduction is clearly laid out. However cutting all support overnight amounts to a moratorium as the minister has suggested. That’s bad news for jobs and energy bill payers. Nearly 19,000 people currently owe their jobs to the UK’s onshore wind industry, with potential for thousands more over the next decade.

“It’s also bad news for bill-payers. As the Royal Academy of Engineering showed earlier this month, limiting onshore wind means having to rely on more expensive technologies to keep the lights on, increasing our dependency on costly fossil fuel imports and exposure to price hikes. 

“We urge the Conservative Party to work with the industry on cost reduction, and stop making arbitrary comments which threaten investment in all energy types.”