On-shore wind is one of the cheapest energy sources

Tories to axe wind turbine subsidies if re-elected

Government subsidies for on-shore wind farms might be discontinued if the Conservative Party wins the 2015 elections.

According to the Conservative Energy Minister Michael Fallon no new undertakings would receive public subsidies if the new policy goes ahead. Those already under construction, or which have received planning permissions, would be protected from the change.

Fallon believes cancelling the subsidies won’t prevent the UK from achieving the 2020 EU carbon emissions targets.

"We remain committed to cutting our carbon emissions. And renewable energy, including on-shore wind, has a key role in our future energy supply. But we now have enough bill-payer-funded on-shore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there's no requirement for any more,” Fallon said.

Instead, the money will be used to back other renewable technologies as part of a mix of energy supplies.

According to figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, some 13.8GW of on-shore wind is already built, under construction or with permission in Britain – sufficient to meet targets of 11 to 13GW, even if some existing projects fail through a lack of finance or other problems.

There is currently enough on-shore wind power in the system to power four million homes, forecast to rise to seven million by 2020 under the coalition's plans.

Conservative Party policy is for renewable power to operate alongside nuclear, gas, and carbon capture and storage, to lower emissions and maintain energy security.

The party said its new policy would not cause a rise in household bills because contributions to renewable power are legally capped until 2020.

Changes to planning rules will also give communities more power to reject on-shore wind projects not already in place or planned when the policy comes into force.

The proposed changes would mean applications for large on-shore wind farms would be handled by councils through the locally-led planning system, not the Nationally Significant Infrastructure regime. This will need a change in the law, which a majority Conservative government would look to pass within six months of taking office.

However, Liberal Energy Secretary Ed Davey has warned the Tory plans could be "disastrous for business and jobs".

“On-shore wind is one of the cheapest forms of green energy, so cutting it could lead to higher bills,” Davey said.

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