Amber Rudd: Onshore wind cuts will protect consumers and boost other renewables
The early end to onshore wind subsidies will protect consumer bills and help cut the costs of other renewable technologies, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has claimed.
Addressing Parliament yesterday (22 June), Rudd said that the UK had enough onshore capacity already deployed and in the pipeline to meet renewable targets.
She confirmed that she expected the subsidy change to stop the construction of around 250 planned wind farms and 2,500 turbines.
She said: “We require between 11-13 GW of electricity to be provided by onshore wind by 2020 to meet our renewable electricity generation objective while remaining within the limits of what is affordable. We now have enough onshore wind in the pipeline, including projects that have planning permission, to meet this requirement comfortably. Without action we are very likely to deploy beyond this range.
“We could end up with more onshore wind projects than we can afford – which would lead to either higher bills for consumers, or other renewable technologies, such as offshore wind, losing out on support. We need to continue investing in less mature technologies so that they realise their promise, just as onshore wind has done.”
Rudd announced last week that the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme would be closed to new onshore wind projects from 1 April 2016. But the opposition parties and renewable energy experts have said the decision could cost the UK up to £3bn in lost investments.
Responding to Rudd’s latest speech in the Commons, Labour Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint said: “This debate is not about hot air, it is about jobs, manufacturing and investment opportunities at risk across the sector.
“Despite the Prime Minister’s warm words on tackling climate change in this most important year of global negotiations, this parliament has hardly begun but already the cheapest form of renewable energy is under attack and investors in other forms of renewable energy are worried that they are next.”
When the decision was first announced last week, Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: “People’s fuel bills will increase directly as a result of this Government’s actions. If Government was really serious about ending subsidy it should be working with industry to help us bring costs down, not slamming the door on the lowest cost option.”
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