United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK offshore support unchanged following onshore cut

UK: Energy minister Amber Rudd has confirmed offshore subsidies will remain unchanged, despite the cuts to onshore payments.

Amber Rudd speaking in Parliament today (pic: Parliament TV)
Amber Rudd speaking in Parliament today (pic: Parliament TV)

Last week, the government announced plans to end the Renewables Obligation subsidy a year earlier than anticipated. Rudd predicted approximately 7.1GW of onshore wind projects in the UK might not qualify for the grace period. 

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Rudd confirmed the changes will not affect support for offshore projects: "We won't be reducing [offshore subsidies]. Now we have a market-led system through the Contracts for Difference (CfD), we are able to push for the reduction of prices, which, in the CfD auction last year, was very effective at getting the price down," she said.

Rudd was taking questions in the House of Commons on plans to end subsidies for onshore wind projects.

The energy minister has also hinted onshore wind projects would be ineligible for the upcoming CfD auction, expected to be in October.

Responding to a direct question on the topic, Rudd only said: "Under contracts for difference we will be implementing the manifesto," and gave no further detail on how this would happen.

As a result of the changes, however, other technologies such as offshore wind would get continued support.

Rudd told Parliament: "We now have enough onshore wind in the pipeline, including projects that have planning permission, to meet the [2020] requirements. Without action, we are very likely to deploy beyond [the targets]. We could end up with more onshore wind projects than we can afford, which would lead to either higher bills for consumers or other renewable technologies like offshore wind losing out on support.

"We need to continue investing in less mature technologies so that they realise their promise just as onshore wind has already done. It is therefore appropriate to curtail further subsidised deployment of onshore wind," she added.

The UK's target is to produce 15% of its energy from renewables. It is estimated that it will need to generate at least 30% of its electricity from renewables to hit that target.

The Conservative Party made a manifesto pledge in last month's general election to "halt the spread of onshore wind farms". The party won an unexpected majority in the election, giving it a mandate to carry out its promises.

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