Wind farm plans in tatters after subsidy rethink

March 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Last week SSE, one of the big six energy companies, announced it was
abandoning two wind farms in Scotland, both of which had attracted fierce
local opposition.

SSE had wanted to build one farm with 27 turbines, each 400ft tall, at
Dalnessie in Sutherland
and the other for 12 turbines at Glen
Orrin in Ross-shire
. Neither will now get built. SSE said it was looking
at all its other schemes on a “case by case basis”.

Windpower, which has a number of wind farms already in operation, has
abandoned two sites in England
– one for 16 turbines, each 426ft high,
at a disused airfield in north Cornwall and another for 10 turbines in the
Forest of Bowland, a beauty spot in Lancashire.

Both companies had sunk millions of pounds into the schemes, which were going
through the planning stage. Renewable UK, the trade body, said that other
wind energy companies were also reviewing future projects in the face of a
squeeze on the subsidy.

Campaigners, who say wind farms are ugly, expensive and unreliable, will
celebrate the demise of the schemes. Conservative MPs have been demanding
cuts in wind farm subsidies to halt their spread.

The changes to the scheme will not come into full effect until 2017. Until
then the new scheme will run in parallel with the existing one.

Wind farms facing the axe are likely to be ones completed after 2017 when
owners will be forced to bid for subsidy from a limited pot of money. The
successful bids will win subsidies at reduced rates.

The changes were ordered by the Treasury, which had become alarmed by the huge
sums being offered to wind farm developers. The subsidy is added on to
electricity bills, driving up household costs.

Dr John Constable, the director of the Renewable Energy Foundation think tank,
which has criticised the size of wind energy subsidies, said: “Competitive
tendering for renewables subsidy is bad news for many wind projects,
reducing the value of the planning consent and making it much harder for
developers to realise a significant profit.”

Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, said: “It’s obviously
concerning that projects from one of the cheapest sources of renewable
energy are being withdrawn.

“There are still projects coming forward, but these recent announcements are a
warning shot to the Government to make sure that their up coming reforms are
done in the right way.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “Onshore
wind is the cheapest large-scale renewable technology and has a key role to
play in our energy mix. It is a thriving and mature industry and it is right
that Government support should reduce as the cost of generating comes down.”

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