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Wind farm subsidy cuts threaten job losses

wind energy ukThe “renewables obligation” subsidy will be closed to onshore wind farms from April next year instead of 2017. As the government ends subsidies earlier than expected, it’s feared that thousands of jobs will be lost. There’s also anger that the new government aren’t taking renewable energy pledges as seriously as they ought to.

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK stated:

“The Government’s decision to end prematurely financial support for onshore wind sends a chilling signal not just to the renewable energy industry, but to all investors right across the UK’s infrastructure sectors. It means this Government is quite prepared to pull the rug from under the feet of investors when this country needs to clean up the way we generate electricity at the lowest possible cost – which is onshore wind.”

They made reference to the governments increased support for fracking despite public objection. The government hit back under the guise of the DECC saying:

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

They’ve also stated that even with these subsidy cuts, they are still on route to meet European Union climate change targets although it’s claimed these cuts will cost the consumers £3 billion extra to do so as it is believe that onshore wind energy is the cheapest of all low-carbon options.

As a gesture, they have allowed grace periods for some of the projects allowing around 3,000 wind turbines to be subsidised.

Not good enough apparently as Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s energy minister stated that:

“Ending the subsidy scheme from April 2016 would have a disproportionate impact in Scotland, which is host to 70 per cent of onshore wind projects in the UK planning system.”

While the SNP are prolific supporters of onshore wind energy, there are plenty of Scottish anti-wind farm groups hailing the announcement of an early end to the Renewables Obligation subsidy scheme and even calling for an end to the feed-in-tariff scheme.

Some support then for Amber Rudd who wanted to allow local councils the opportunity to veto the building of wind farms in local communities. We’re amused that the same liberties are not being extended to communities with regard to fracking and nuclear plants.

Would this be a ploy to get some anti-wind farm Scottish communities on board or are we just cynical?!