UK onshore wind energy support to end in 2016

New onshore wind farms in the UK will not receive public subsidies from April 2016. The government announced it would close the Renewables Obligation (RO) for onshore wind projects across […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

New onshore wind farms in the UK will not receive public subsidies from April 2016.

The government announced it would close the Renewables Obligation (RO) for onshore wind projects across the country a year earlier than expected.

There will be a grace period for projects of up to 5.2GW of capacity that have already been given the go-ahead, DECC said.

It added more than £800 million worth of subsidies helped onshore wind generate 5% of the UK’s total electricity last year.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We are driving forward our commitment to end new onshore wind subsidies and give local communities the final say over any new wind farms. 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.”

The move was part of the plans proposed by the Conservative Party ahead of the general election in May.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said he had warned the UK Government the decision “which appears irrational” could be the subject of a judicial review.

He added the news will have a “disproportionate impact” on Scotland as around 70% of onshore wind projects in the UK planning system are based there.

Mr Ewing said: “Onshore wind is already the lowest cost of all low carbon options as well the vital contribution it makes towards tackling climate change, which means it should be the last one to be scrapped, curtailed or restricted.

“The UK Government has ignored the concerns of businesses and organisations who are integral to the future energy security of both Scotland and the UK as well as to environmental organisations who recognise the importance of renewable energy in helping reduce emissions. The UK Government have chosen to place at risk a huge investment pipeline, conceived in good faith by developers based on statements from the UK Government.”

He added the decision will cause “huge uncertainty” for investors across the renewables industry.

Earlier this week the European Commission revealed the UK could miss its EU renewable energy target for 2020.