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Tories take the wind out of SNP’s sails with subsidy cuts

wind farm at seaThe Conservative government is due to shut down the current wind subsidy scheme earlier than expected, effectively preventing the development of thousands of turbines, under plans being considered by Amber Rudd.

It seems the Conservatives are making good on their manifesto pledge to end any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms – amid concerns that turbines are unpopular with local communities.

Rudd said: “We promised people clean, affordable and secure energy supplies and that’s what I’m going to deliver. We’ll focus support on renewables when they’re starting up – getting a good deal for bill payers is the top priority.”

Under current policy, any big onshore wind turbines built before the end of March 2017 would automatically be able to qualify for generous payments through a scheme called the Renewables Obligation (RO), which is funded through green levies on consumer energy bills.

A reform of the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme will be implemented in order to cut support for new onshore wind turbines because a government subsidy is “no longer appropriate” in light of falling technology costs within the sector.

Not good news for Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP Scottish First Minister, who wants more onshore wind farms and has already demanded a veto on the Tory plans. She’s also raising the prospect that subsidies could continue to be paid to new projects in Scotland. Not likely Nicola.

The Tories will be under pressure to deliver their manifesto pledges and the new government reassure us that we have enough wind capacity without new turbines.

“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 per cent of our electricity should come from renewables by 2020,” said a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman.

Phew! We just wonder where the funding for these subsidies will be re-directed to…