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Renewables bring down overall cost of energy, research finds

A report has found that renewables are cutting the wholesale price of energy and lessening the effects of subsidies on bill payers.

Published by independent energy company Good Energy, the report is backed by experts at the University of Sheffield.

It follows recent announcements by the government that it will cut subsidies for renewables such as solar and wind in order to keep bills as low as possible for families and businesses.

Good Energy’s report shows that wind and solar brought down the wholesale cost of electricity by £1.55bn in 2014.

That meant an overall net cost for supporting the two renewable sources last year was £1.1bn, 58% less than the cost reflected in the capped budget set for green subsidies known as the Levy Control Framework.

Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport OBE said: “This analysis puts the bill payer at the centre of the debate around renewable energy subsidies. Let’s give them the full picture and not just half of it.

“What is not taken into account is the fact that renewable energy, such as wind and solar, has actually been bringing the cost of energy down for consumers.”

“The billpayer money invested into supporting renewables yields significant benefits – let’s be very clear about that.”

Experts from the University of Sheffield have backed the report and are about to publish the results of their own study on the savings onshore and offshore wind farms are contributing to wholesale energy costs.

Dr Lisa Clark, from the university’s department of physics and astronomy, said: “Decarbonising electricity generation is critical for the future sustainability of the planet.  In the UK wind is a really important source of renewable electricity.

“At the moment the costs of renewable subsidy schemes such as Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Obligation have cast doubt over future of renewables. But there are very few reports of the actual financial savings from renewable generation like wind and existing savings to consumers.”

However, Ms Clark said this report provided clear evidence that wind generation is typically saving consumers around £1.5bn per year.

“So not only is wind energy decarbonising our electricity generation, it isn’t costing any more than any other source of electricity to do so,” she added.

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