UK cuts subsidies to onshore wind projects

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UK cuts subsidies to onshore wind projects

The UK government has announced its intention to end new public subsidies through the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme for onshore wind farms across Great Britain as of April 1st, 2016.

Up to 5.2 GW of onshore wind capacity could be eligible for grace periods which the government can offer to projects that already have planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, as well as evidence of land rights.

In 2014, over £800 million (US$1.27 billion) of government subsidies helped onshore wind generate 5% of the UK's total capacity. With the high volume of onshore wind projects currently in operation or in the pipeline, the UK government believes that they are on track to meet their climate change targets.

The UK's Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, has commented:

"We have a long-term plan to keep the lights on and our homes warm, power the economy with cleaner energy, and keep bills as low as possible for hard-working families."

"As part of our plan, we are committed to cutting our carbon emissions by fostering enterprise, competition, opportunity and growth. We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies."

"So we are driving forward our commitment to end new onshore wind subsidies and give local communities the final say over any new wind farms. Onshore wind is an important part of our energy mix and we now have enough subsidized projects in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments."

The UK government has stated that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will look at options to continue support for community energy projects, as part of the feed-in tariff review, later this year.

The DECC has already announced measures in the Queen's speech to change the law to give local communities the final say on onshore wind farm applications.

Introduced by the UK government in 2002, the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme is geared at providing incentives for the deployment of large-scale renewable electricity in the UK.

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