The Government is pushing ahead with its commitment to end public subsidies for onshore wind farms, by closing the Renewables Obligation across Great Britain from 1 April 2016.
In amendments to the Energy Bill we have set out the grace period criteria, providing further certainty for investors. We estimate that around 2.9GW of onshore wind capacity will be eligible for the grace periods, meaning that bill payers will be protected.
The projects that are eligible for the grace period will need to demonstrate either that they had planning consent as at 18 June; that they have successfully appealed a planning refusal made on or before 18 June; or that they have successfully appealed after not receiving a planning decision due by 18 June. They will also need to show that they had a grid connection and land rights in place. Projects that have met all these criteria and can demonstrate that they have struggled to secure finance from lenders since 18 June will be allowed extra time but no longer than nine months.
In total, the amount of onshore wind capacity that could be deployed by 2020 is still 12.3GW and will ensure we meet our renewable energy commitments.
Energy Minister Lord Bourne said: “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 and businesses.
“To do this we will help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies. By bringing forward these amendments we are protecting bill payers whilst meeting our renewable energy commitments.”
Notes to editors
A full copy of the amendments and Impact Assessment will be published on the parliament website
In June we set out that onshore wind capacity could be 12.3GW by 2020. These amendments do not change this estimate.
In 2014, over £800 million of Government subsidies helped onshore wind to generate 5 per cent of the UK’s total electricity, with the high volume of onshore wind either deployed or in the pipeline meaning that the UK is well on the way to meeting its climate change targets. Onshore wind is an important part of our energy mix and we have enough capacity in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments