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Will 2016 see the UK withdrawing its subsidies for onshore wind power projects?

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The UK’s new government has announced that as of April 2016 it will no longer provide Renewables Obligation subsidies for new onshore wind energy projects.

Last week the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed the government now plan to bring this change forward from their original target, the end of 2017.

The good news for those involved in wind power is that it’ll provide a grace period for wind projects with less than 5.2GW capacity, as long as they have secured the required planning consent, have had their grid connection offer accepted and have evidence of land rights to be considered.

According to DECC secretary Amber Rudd onshore wind is still important but the Department feels the UK now has enough subsidised projects in the pipeline to meet its renewable energy commitments (5% of the UK’s total energy).  She added the government’s aim is to have those involved “stand on their own two feet” rather than become reliant on subsidies.

While Green groups are understandably up in arms over the decision, there is an argument the end of subsidies may have been brought forward because of a lack of capital.  Indeed the plan to end subsidies early could save the government as much as £3bn in Scotland alone.

Energy industry experts are now predicting the decision may also provide a boost for the oil, gas and fracking community who may be able to step up to fill the gap in overall energy production which a reduction in investment in wind power may leave.

Harrison Drury’s Energy and Renewables lawyers in Preston, Lancaster, Garstang, Kendal and now Clitheroe provide legal support for everyone involved in the Energy and Renewable Energy sectors.  If you have a question relating to an energy project or an energy-based business, please contact us today.


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