UK Plan to Cut Wind Subsidies Irrational, Scotland Minister Says

LONDON — Plans by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government to end subsidies for onshore wind power make no sense, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said.

“It’s irrational to reduce or even scrap onshore wind subsidies, when in fact as the industry has pointed out, and I think it’s incontrovertible, that onshore wind is clearly still the most cost-effective large-scale way of deploying renewable technology in the U.K.,” Ewing said Thursday in a radio interview on the British Broadcasting Corp.’s “Today” program.

The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto to end new subsidies for onshore wind power and to bar new projects from going ahead without buy-in from local people. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd’s department is considering plans to end one subsidy program, called the Renewables Obligation, early for onshore wind, the Daily Telegraph reported last week. The program is currently due to remain open for onshore wind until March 2017.

Ewing said ending subsidies early could cost U.K. consumers an extra 2 to 3 billion pounds ($3.1 billion to $4.6 billion), citing estimates by Scottish Power Chief Corporate Officer Keith Anderson. That’s because the U.K. would have to turn to more expensive sources of clean energy to meet its renewable and carbon-reduction targets.

“These statements made apparently through the columns of the Daily telegraph originally are causing concern for investors who have committed several hundreds of millions of pounds in projects which were to proceed,” Ewing said. “The headlong rush seems to be the wrong way to go about government decisions and I would much prefer to sit around the table with Amber Rudd and get industries fully involved before decisions are taken which could prove to be costly, irrational and even expose the U.K. taxpayer to the risk of judicial review.”

Copyright 2015 Bloomberg

Lead image: Wind turbines. Credit: Shutterstock.


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