UK to end onshore wind energy subsidies one year ahead of schedule

The UK Government is planning to close Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy regime for new onshore wind power projects from April 2016, a year ahead than previously planned.


The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that the government is expected to launch a primary legislation to implement the change.

The ruling will, however, have a grace period to wind projects with less than 5.2GW capacity, and have already secured planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, and evidence of land rights.

DEEC 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, the government provided more than £800m subsidies to the onshore wind sector, which accounts for 5% of the country’s electricity generation capacity.

The decision is facing opposition from the renewable industry.

According to Scottish renewable, Scotland alone could lose £3bn of investment by putting around 2GW of onshore wind projects at risk.

Scottish Renewables CEO Niall Stuart said: “The decision is 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 favor of onshore wind and only 24% in favor of fracking.”