The future of subsidies for new wind farm developments is looking increasingly shaky in light of comments from the new Conservative Government and its Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd.
The Conservatives said in their election manifesto that they would end any new public subsidies for onshore wind farms and they seem determined to make good that promise or threat depending on how you see it.
This drive to limit the spread of wind farms appears to be overtaking general reform of subsidies for renewable electricity projects. From March 2017, under Electricity Market Reform, the Renewables Obligation scheme ends to be replaced by CfDs in the case of big developments and nothing at all guaranteed for small scale renewables.
Following the election the Department of Energy and Climate Change said:
“We are driving forward plans to end new public subsidy for onshore wind farms.
“We will shortly be publishing our plans to reform the Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariff scheme to implement this commitment. With the cost of supplying onshore wind falling, government subsidy is no longer appropriate.”
Justifying its approach DECC added:
“Looking at what has already had planning permission, there is enough onshore wind to contribute what’s needed to reach the ambition set out in the Coalition Government’s renewables roadmap that 30% of our electricity should come from renewables by 2020.”
The latest development is a report in the Telegraph in London that the RO scheme may end early. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/renewableenergy/11641088/Wind-farm-subsidies-facing-the... DECC has declined to comment on that. It also can't say when it will be publishing its new plans for the reform of onshore wind farm subsidies.
The Conservatives have said they will consult with devolved administrations on changes to subsidy regimes.
The target of generating 40% of electricity here from renewable sources is defunct. It would appear that what is at stake now is the continued expansion of wind farms. At the moment that looks very far from certain.