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Is it the end of large-scale wind farm subsidies?

26 October 2015

The government announced, shortly after being elected, that it would stop subsidy payments for on-shore wind farms.

The energy minister declared that subsidies under the renewables obligation scheme would go a year earlier than expected, with payments ending by April 2016.

It has been reported that she said: “We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies. So we are driving forward our commitment to end new on-shore wind subsidies and give local communities the final say over any new wind farms.“

Onshore wind is an important part of our energy mix and we now have enough subsidised projects in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments”.

The news immediately prompted the renewables sector and environmentalists to accuse the government of hitting the renewable industry just when it was gaining momentum. The government has also been accused of hypocrisy by allowing local communities to veto wind farms but not potential fracking projects.

This doesn’t mean the end of wind farms. The government has granted a reprieve for schemes already in the pipeline. Also, nothing was said about the feed-in-tariff, which provides subsidies for schemes under 5MW, meaning that single turbine schemes coming within these parameters still qualify for support.

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Adam Hale BA (Hons), TEP, FALA
Senior associate, solicitor
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