Onshore wind and solar energy in the UK can be viable without subsidies.
That’s the view of Alan Whitehead, member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, who spoke to ELN after questioning Energy Secretary Amber Rudd at the House of Commons yesterday.
Ms Rudd said she doesn’t expect the government to include onshore wind in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) round.
It follows last month’s confirmation to scrap subsidies for onshore wind from April next year.
Mr Whitehead said: “The government appears to be putting its eggs in more expensive baskets while taking the eggs out of the cheaper baskets in order to fund the more expensive baskets with what is happening with onshore wind and solar.”
However, he added: “All the indications are that within a very short period of time those particular technologies will be viable effectively without subsidy.”
He said “the renewable sector has proved itself” as the cost of onshore wind and particularly solar are coming “rocketing down”.
The UK Government also announced its plans to reduce support for solar and biomass projects to rein in the spiralling costs of renewable energy subsidies and prevent increased bills.
The Solar Trade Association said the news is “damaging for big solar rooftops as well as solar farms”.
Head of External Affairs Leonie Greene added: “Solar farms are close to competitiveness with new gas generation and they account for a very small proportion of expenditure on the Renewables Obligation.
“We’re hearing a lot of big figures from government but they should know it is just a few quid more on energy bills to deliver nothing less than a solar power revolution in the UK.
“Support for solar under the Renewables Obligation currently costs just £3 per year on each household bill and solar on makes up only 6% of the Renewables Obligation budget.”
Former Shell Chairman Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool said constant changes to policy lead to increased costs.
He added: “The changes the government is announcing in the name of affordability will have the perverse effect of increasing the cost of clean energy. Constant changes to energy policy undermine investor confidence and increase the cost of capital for renewable energy projects.”
Michael Grubb, Professor of International Energy and Climate Change Policy at University College London, said the energy industry is “now concerned about the risk of a capricious and politicised UK energy policy, driven more by Treasury intervention than by the department responsible”.