The Government intends to end new public subsidies for onshore wind farms by legislating to close the Renewables Obligation across Great Britain to new onshore wind generating stations from 1 April 2016.
Up to 5.2GW of onshore wind capacity could be eligible for grace periods which the Government is minded to offer to projects that already have planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, as well as evidence of land rights.
In 2014, over £800m of Government subsidies helped onshore wind to generate 5% of the UK’s total electricity, with the high volume of onshore wind either deployed or in the pipeline meaning that the UK is well on the way to meeting its climate change targets.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said:
“We have a long-term plan to keep the lights on and our homes warm, power the economy with cleaner energy, and keep bills as low as possible for hard-working families.
“As part of our plan, we are committed to cutting our carbon emissions by fostering enterprise, competition, opportunity and growth. We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies.
“So we are driving forward our commitment to end new onshore wind subsidies and give local communities the final say over any new windfarms. Onshore wind is an important part of our energy mix and we now have enough subsidised projects in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments”.
DECC will look at options to continue support for community energy projects, as part of the Feed-in Tariff review later this year.
DECC have already announced measures in the Queen’s speech to change the law to give local communities the final say on onshore windfarm applications.