Onshore wind farms have had their share of controversy in the UK like they have in many other countries. However the UK government has now decided to side with those that object to the renewable energy source by announcing they will scrap subsidies currently totalling £400 million a year for companies that produce onshore wind.
The UK coalition government is divided on wind energy, with the conservatives aiming to cut all subsidies for renewable energy companies, while the liberal democrats have supported the subsidy regime for onshore wind and solar energy. However government’s support for these industries is now expected to be phased out by the end of the decade.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris said: “I struggle to see how anyone can argue for a policy that gives huge sums of money to big landowners and the big six energy companies, whilst at the same time it thwarts growth and forces tens of thousands into fuel poverty.”
Currently UK home owners pay for subsidies to renewable energy producers through an extra charge on household electricity bills, however The Telegraph has learned that over the next eight years subsides will be drastically diminish. All of this was revealed in an email sent by Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin to Terry Stewart, president of the Dorset branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE). In it, Letwin writes: “I anticipate that subsidies for both solar photovoltaic and onshore wind will come down to zero over the next few years and should have disappeared by 2020, since both of these forms of energy are gradually becoming economic without the need for subsidies.”
Of course, the CPRE supports local groups who have been campaigning against onshore wind farms by saying that they are an eyesore. It’ll be interesting to see how Prime Minister David Cameron defends this decision after saying he would lead the “greenest government ever.” Of course, by not attending the Rio+20 Conference, he is already sending out mixed signals.
Currently there are more than 3,000 onshore wind turbines in Britain, with another 4,500 expected to go up in the future. As you’d expect, the UK’s green groups are not happy, but John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, has broken ranks saying: “Extremely high subsidies have harmed the reputation and integrity of the renewables sector, which has been corrupted by easy money and undeserved fortunes.”
What do you think? Is it time for renewable energy to stand on its own two feet?
Via The Telegraph