Rio+20: Wind energy subsidies needed to get technology going …

June 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

But he added: “In the early stages of these technologies, a bit of
support from the taxpayer goes a long way. If you want to get those new
renewable technologies going, you need a bit of support in those early years.”

He said it was a “real opportunity as we rebalance the economy away from
the unsustainable mistakes of the past.”

The planned change under the Energy Bill will threaten the financial viability
of wind farms, the planning permission for which can cost thousands of
pounds, and halve investment in the industry.

The plan is certain to meet fierce resistance from Liberal Democrats, who will
see it as an attempt by the Chancellor to restore his reputation among party
loyalists after a disastrous Budget.

There are already 3,000 turbines in the UK, with a further 4,500 planned. The
industry is heavily funded by subsidies worth around £400 million a year.
Householders pay for subsidies to renewable energy producers through an
extra charge on electricity bills.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, will announce details of subsidies for
renewable energy covering the period 2013-2017. That will follow a
consultation on whether they should be cut by more than the 10 per cent
already planned. Any cut up to 25 per cent could threaten many schemes.

The news came after Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office Minister, said in a
leaked email at the weekend that the subsidy could be eliminated altogether
by 2020.

The email sent to Terry Stewart, president of the Dorset branch of the
Campaign to Protect Rural England, disclosed by The Sunday Telegraph, made
it clear that financial support both for onshore wind and solar panels is
expected to have “disappeared” within eight years.

The planned changes are bound to lead to protests from the green lobby and
electricity firms, which benefit from the subsidies. But Chris
Heaton-Harris, the Conservative MP, welcomed the news of a possible
about-turn. He said: “Taking an axe to these subsidies will be welcomed
across the country. A policy that subsidises rich landowners, gives money to
the big six energy companies, hinders growth and puts tens of thousands into
fuel poverty is completely barking.”

Last night sources at the Department for Energy and Climate Change said no
decisions about the subsidy had been made.

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