Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party pledged to end government subsidies for onshore wind farms if it wins a national election next year, increasing uncertainty for investors in renewable energy, Reuters has reported.
Michael Fallon, a Conservative energy minister, said that onshore wind still had a role to play in helping Britain meet its energy needs and renewable energy targets but that the industry no longer required government subsidies.
“We now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments, and there’s no requirement for any more,” Fallon says, in comments released by his office.
“That’s why the next Conservative government will end any additional bill payer subsidy for onshore wind and give local councils the decisive say on any new wind farms.”
Onshore wind farms currently in the planning system will still benefit from subsidies, he added, but any further projects will no longer receive support.
Onshore wind farm projects will also be subject to tighter local planning rules under the Conservative Party’s plans.
The government’s renewable subsidy regime has always foreseen an end to direct support once technologies are able to compete commercially. The government pushed through cuts to onshore wind subsidies late last year but boosted support for offshore wind.
The future of onshore wind has divided the government. Cameron’s junior coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, are keen to encourage investment in all forms of renewable energy.