The End Is Nigh For Onshore Wind Farm Subsidies
“We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies.” Amber Rudd, Energy and Climate Change Secretary
As of April 2016, onshore wind farm developments could decline as "we now have enough subsidised projects in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments", according to Amber Rudd. This intervention has been scorned by some, as they believe onshore wind is the cheapest form of low-carbon energy and needs to remain subsidised in order to not hinder progress. Thousands of onshore turbines are presently awaiting planning permission; subsequently we may see a reduction in the number actually built in the future if developers are unable to access funding.
The UK’s £800m of Government subsidies have already given onshore wind farms a boost. Onshore turbines were used to produce 5% of the UK’s electricity in 2014, this has assisted us in being well on our way to meeting 2020 climate change targets.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change announced the measures in the Queen’s speech. This infliction will also adapt the law to give local communities the final decision on onshore wind farm development in their area; this could be massively favourable among the general public as there are often objections against the building of turbines due to noise and appearance.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, a grace period will be given to turbine developments that have already been granted planning permission. This could pave the way for up to 5.2GW of wind capacity, which may result in hundreds more wind turbines going up soon across the UK.
What Does This Mean For UK Businesses?
1) If this is correct, it means energy prices could decline rapidly in the future but only once renewable sources are operating in full swing. Until such a time, it only makes sense to compare the UK energy market so you can find the best possible rates before entering into a new contract. Click here to compare 20+ energy suppliers for your business in just 60 seconds*.
2) This halt in progress means that only care and maintenance positions may remain in the onshore wind farm industry and may result in a knock-on effect reverberating its way through related industries.
3) It’s not yet clear whether there will be any effect on commercial and domestic turbines that may be mounted on your home or business. If it does affect this then British engineering businesses that supply parts for turbines could also deteriorate.
4) Thousands of the 19,000 onshore wind sector employees in the industrial and construction-based work roles could lose their jobs. However, on the plus side, if your business operates in either of those industries, you could have the pick of the pack when hiring future employees.
5) Some believe that if the supporting subsidies were to continue, more than 37,000 jobs would be supported by the onshore wind farm industry by 2023.
6) Money will have to be spent on more expensive forms of low-carbon energy generation to meet 2020 targets to tackle climate change meaning that in the short term your bills could increase.
The Future of UK Renewable Energy
In the end the UK needs to work together to change our ways and reduce our impact on the environment, meeting 2020 climate change goals, whilst still catering for the high demand for home and business energy.
Onshore wind farming is a great way of working towards our targets, however we can’t rely on one source alone to fulfil our needs, simply because we use too much energy for it to be an option, it’s just not practical. Investments are being planned to progress renewable energy via programmes such as ‘The Global Apollo Project’, which aim to make the production of renewable energy sources cheaper than fossil fuels. It’s a positive sign that there’s definitely hope for a cleaner, greener (and cheaper) future for all regardless of on shore wind farm subsidies ending.
*60 seconds is based upon the average time taken to obtain a comparison at loveenergysavings.com (March - June 2015)