Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has come under pressure from Tory MPs to cut subsidies for onshore wind farms, introduced to encourage land-owners to invest in giant turbines which campaigners say blight the countryside and are often constructed against the wishes of local people.
But Mr Davey insisted ministers would stick with plans to reduce the subsidy by only 10%, although there is a review expected shortly which may recommend further reductions.
A source close to Davey said further subsidy cuts would be based on the cost of turbines and not as a result of pressure from more than 100 Tory MPs, who wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron last month calling for the subsidies to be cut more drastically.
Mr Davey admitted there were already enough turbines built or making their way through the planning system to meet the Government’s targets to generate 13 gigawatts of power – enough to supply 10 million homes – through onshore wind farms by 2020.
Responding to a question from Chris Heaton-Harris, who led the Tory revolt against the turbines, Mr Davey said: “I can tell you 5 gigawatts of onshore wind is already built, a further 6 gigawatts has planning consent, and there are 7 gigawatts of projects seeking planning approval, only some of which will be approved.
“Compared to our potential ambition of 13 gigawatts, most of the development the country needs is already on the table. As for subsidy, subsidy levels go down as costs go down and we are proposing a 10% reduction in subsidies to onshore wind.”
In their letter to Mr Cameron last month, which came just after Mr Davey replaced his Liberal Democrat colleague Chris Huhne, the Tory MPs demanded the Government accelerate its cuts to onshore wind farm subsidies.
The letter, which was signed by senior figures such as David Davis, Bernard Jenkin and Nicholas Soames, also claimed the energy produced by onshore wind farms was “inefficient and intermittent”.
And the MPs expressed concerns the proposed National Planning Policy Framework “diminishes the chances of local people defeating onshore wind farm proposals through the planning system”.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding