Government cuts support for wind and solar ahead of Autumn Statement
The Government has today announced that it will cut support for solar energy and onshore wind power but offshore wind has received stronger backing.
Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement speech tomorrow, the Government has revealed plans which confirm the levels of financial support for renewables between 2015 and 2019.
While financial support for onshore wind has been reduced by £5/MWh from 2015 onwards compared to the draft strike prices, the level of support for offshore wind has been increased by £5 per megawatt hour, from £135/MWh to £140/MWh.
Large-scale solar photovoltaic projects, meanwhile, will receive £120 per MWh in 2014-16, dropping to £115 in 2016-17 and £110 in 2017-19.
Under the draft strike prices, published in the summer, solar was expected to receive £5 more p/MWh up to 2018.
According to the Government, additional investments of around £40bn are expected in renewable electricity generation projects up to 2020, following the updated contract terms and strike prices.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “This package will deliver record levels of investment in green energy by 2020. Our reforms are succeeding in attracting investors from around the world so Britain can replace our ageing power station and keep the lights on.
“Investors are queuing up to express their interest in these contracts. This shows that we are providing the certainty they need, our reforms are working and we are delivering ahead of schedule and to plan.
“With sixteen new major renewable projects progressing in our “go early” stage we are delivering ahead of schedule and are able to begin the move to the worlds first low carbon electricity market faster than expected,” he added.
Unsurprisingly, the renewables industry welcomed the increased support for offshore wind but raised concerns over the cuts to solar and onshore wind support.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: “We welcome the fact that the Government has heeded the wind industry’s call for a more realistic level of financial support for offshore wind. It sends an important political signal that the Government recognises the need to back this sector, if we are to attract big wind turbine manufacturers to the UK to open up factories creating tens of thousands of jobs.
“Obviously any reduction in support for onshore wind is unwelcome, and the Government had promised that any drop would be based purely on economic evidence. Onshore wind is the most cost-effective form of renewable energy we have, so if we want to keep energy bills as low as possible, we need to ensure the level of support is right.
Smith said the reduction means that some smaller projects such as community led schemes will be lost.
The announcement comes ahead of the Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, where he will update MPs tomorrow on the Government’s taxation and spending plans. With the debate building around rising energy costs, the Chancellor is expected to focus on the Government’s position on ‘green levies’ and its plans to stabilise bills.
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