250 onshore wind projects already in development are likely to be cancelled because of the early end to the Government’s subsidies, which would otherwise have seen them completed, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has announced.
The cancellation of the subsidies for onshore wind offered under the Renewables Obligation (RO) is likely to mean that about 2,500 turbines planned for construction will most likely not be built, Rudd said.
The Energy Secretary said the move wouldn’t affect consumer bills but would, in fact, save taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies that would otherwise have been paid out to energy projects.
Acting on a Tory manifesto commitment to scrap subsidies for onshore wind, the Government is closing the RO to new projects from April next year.
A grace period has been offered to projects which had secured planning consent, a grid connection and land rights by June 18 2015.
However, approximately 250 projects delivering the 2,500 turbines do not meet these criteria.
"By closing the RO to onshore wind early, we are ensuring that we meet our renewable electricity objectives, while managing the impact on consumer bills and ensuring that other renewables technologies continue to develop and reduce their costs,” Rudd said.
"Indeed, those onshore wind projects unlikely now to go ahead would have cost hundreds of millions of pounds. I believe this draws the line in the right place."
Rudd insisted the Government will be able to meet its 2020 renewable energy targets in spite of this decision, as onshore wind fulfills only around 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.
"Clean energy doesn't begin and end with onshore wind,” Rudd said.
"Onshore wind is an important part of our current and future low-carbon energy mix, but we are reaching the limits of what is affordable and what the public is prepared to accept."