The £400million annual subsidy used to prop up Britain’s onshore wind farm industry is at last to be cut, ministers will confirm this week.
However, the reduction in the burden on family energy bills may be 10 per cent, less than half the 25 per cent demanded by the Treasury and a group of campaigning Conservative MPs.
Householders pay for subsidies for renewable energy through an extra charge on electricity bills.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been battling for the smaller reduction amid threats from wind farm lobbyists of legal action over a 25 per cent cut.
The row has delayed until now Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s announcement of new subsidies from 2013 to 2017.
The Government wants 13 gigawatts of electricity to be provided by onshore wind farms by 2020 but has hit the target already if the 4,500 turbines in the pipeline is added to the 3,000 up and running.
Earlier this year 101 Conservative MPs signed a letter to David Cameron calling for subsidies for “inefficient and intermittent” wind farm energy to be dramatically cut in defiance of pressure from green campaigners.
Daventry Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris, who orchestrated the campaign, said: “We spend almost half a billion pounds a year so that the ‘Big Six’ energy companies and rich landowners can produce expensive energy while 50,000 more households have been forced into fuel poverty.”
Renewable UK, the wind power lobby group, is considering a judicial challenge if a greater than 10 per cent cut is implemented after Mr Cameron’s election pledge to lead “the greenest Government ever”. Policy director Gordon Edge said: “If the Government says we are going to do less for onshore wind than it proposed that will be seen as nakedly political.”
Critics say wind farms are inefficient because the power they produce cannot be stored while the wind cannot be relied on to blow at times of greatest demand.
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