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New Minister promises to cut on-shore wind subsidies.          Early action to deliver election pledge

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Over the last 5 years wind farms and wind turbines have been the focus of well organised local opposition fighting against having wind farms inflicted on their rural community. The subsidy system designed to encourage developers to build 13GW of onshore capacity by 2020 has overshot the target. The 13 GW has already been met if operational wind farms, those under construction and the thousands of large farm turbines are taken into account.

Over the same period wind turbines have increased in size to 185 metres and many new wind farms have been found to create noise problems.

The subsidies have done their job and should be abolished. The conservative manifesto featured a pledge to do that and no time is being lost on delivering that pledge.

This report has the latest information available to us on 14 June and will be updated.

The subsidies

All wind farm and wind turbine subsidies must be dealt with if the spread of wind turbines is to be curtailed.

1. ROC - Renewable obligation certificates - the original system for wind farms - it doubled the value of electricity generated. The system will run in parallel with the new cfd system until March 2017, with developers choosing which one to apply for.

2. Cfd - Contract for difference - basically a price guarantee. The developer bids for money from a fund allocated by DECC. The lower they bid the more likely they are to get the subsidy. A strike price of £105 applies but most bids are lower. Anything over £50 is in effect a subsidy at today’s prices.

3. FIT - Feed in Tariff - developments under 5MW can apply for the FiT. Different rates apply to different sized turbines. They get paid even if they consume all the power themselves. Power fed into the grid receives an additional amount. For a 50 kw turbine these amounts are £144.50 and £48.50 respectively, so if all the power is fed into the grid the subsidy is approximately three times the value of the power.

4. There are also hidden subsidies - if wind developers do not pay for the assets they use or for losses suffered by others as a side effect of wind turbine construction it should be considered to be a subsidy. Harm to landscapes, loss of property value , impact on tourism should all be seen as subsidies. Wind farms also require grid modification and other generation to be on standby. This is another, large, indirect subsidy.

This is how the subsidies should be cut

The wind industry currently receives a total of about £2,000 Million per year. There is no point cutting one subsidy and not another because the industry will shift to the most lucrative subsidy. For example if the FiT is not reduced then developers will focus on developments under 5MW and especially single turbines of 500kw. - turbines are typically 78 metres high. The following cuts are being considered

1. Remove onshore wind from the cfd mechanism – wind farms can then sell output into the market

2. Revise the ROC scheme so it does not run in parallel with the cfd – as was done for large scale solar

3. Revise the fit scheme such that changes to the subsidies for wind farms do not result in displacement of the problem to the construction of large numbers of medium scale turbines – which currently receive large subsidies even if they feed no power into the grid.

4. Consider the indirect subsidies that wind developers get - a few are identified above.

Planning process

We will … change the law so that local people have the final say on windfarm applications”

As a first step Amber Rudd has already moved decision making on large wind farms over 50MW to local planners. However most wind farms are under 50MW and decisions are already taken locally. The problem comes when the developer appeals and the Planning Inspectorate then makes the decision. The costs and risks of the appeal process are such that many local authorities will approve a wind farm in the face of strong local opposition because they fear the cost and risk of it going to appeal. The wind industry have teams of legal and planning experts who have in many cases fought hundreds of planning appeals for wind farms. Local authorities and local action groups are no match for them either in experience or money.

The manifesto pledge l say and that if a village says it does not want a wind farm then it will be refused. The statement “We will halt the spread of onshore wind farms” could not be clearer.

We have to wait to see this pledge will be delivered. There is no doubt that it is being taken seriously!

The Conservative manifesto pledge

 We will halt the spread of onshore windfarms    Onshore wind now makes a meaningful contribution to our energy mix and has been part of the necessary increase in renewable capacity. Onshore windfarms often fail to win public support, however, and are unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires. As a result, we will end any new public subsidy for them and change the law so that local people have the final say on windfarm applications.”

David Cameron, in reply to a question by Glyn Davies MP

 “He campaigned very hard on this in the last Parliament and in our manifesto we were very, very clear that there will be no more subsidies for onshore windfarms.

Read the report

Download the Conservative Party manifesto -

see page 57



June 14 - Announcement expected next week - SNP already moaning about it. Scottish Mail Report Clear that Scottish Govt places no value on Scottish landscape

June 11 - Subsidy axe delayed - Daily Telegraph report - Click here

June 2 - Renewables UK Threatens Govt with Legal action if they cut the sibsidy - Who do they think they are?

June 1 - Guardian acts as messenger for the wind industry which portrays people living in the country as carrying pitch forks - no mention of reasonable objections to 400 foot industrial structures and the intolerable noise they make.    

May 20 - Wind industry pitch for thousands more turbines - Click here


Related news

Subsidy cut announcement

Onshore wind - Planning changes

This page - The promise

Lumby appeal