UK to end subsidies for onshore wind power projects from 2016

18 June 2015 (Last Updated June 18th, 2015 18:30)

The UK intends to close Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidies for new onshore wind energy projects from April 2016.

The UK intends to close Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidies for new onshore wind energy projects from April 2016.

UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) informed that the government is expected to bring a primary legislation to implement the change in subsidy regime.

The government had earlier scheduled the end of subsidies from 2017.

However, the ruling will allow a grace period to wind projects with less than 5.2GW capacity.

"The ruling will allow a grace period to wind projects with less than 5.2GW capacity."

The projects will also need to have secured planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, and evidence of land rights to be considered for the benefits.

DECC secretary Amber Rudd said: "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.

"We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies."

In 2014, UK had allowed £800m as subsidies to the onshore wind sector to generate 5% of the country’s energy mix.

An earlier end to the subsidies is facing opposition from the green energy groups, who term the decision to be ‘nakedly political’, reports Bloomberg.

Another reason considered for the end to subsidies programme is lack of capital.

According to Scottish Renewables, the decision will result in almost £3bn of investment loss in Scotland alone, by putting around 2GW of onshore wind projects at risk.

Scottish Renewables CEO Niall Stuart indicated the decision to be ‘bad for jobs, bad for investment and can only hinder Scotland and the UK’s efforts to meet binding climate change targets.’

Renewable energy recruiter Hyperion Executive Search managing partner David Hunt said: "It will provide a boost to the oil, gas and fracking community and goes completely against the government’s own polling, which showed 74% in favour of onshore wind and only 24% in favour of fracking."