We must cut onshore windfarm subsidies, says David Cameron
Credit: By Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent | The Telegraph | 22 Apr 2014 | www.telegraph.co.uk ~~
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David Cameron has indicated he will look at cutting subsidies for onshore wind farms in the future.
The Prime Minister said incentives to build onshore turbines should not be kept in place for longer than necessary.
A time will come when Britain meets its targets in generating energy from onshore wind, and subsidies should then be cut, he said.
Mr Cameron spoke after reports earlier this month suggested he would make a 2015 general election manifesto pledge to “rid” the countryside of onshore wind farms.
The comments will be seen as a rebuke for Ed Davey, the Coalition’s Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change secretary, who said four days ago that the LibDems would not cap the number of new onshore windfarms.
He said: “This Coalition Government is not changing tack on onshore wind or renewables and we will not lose focus or rewrite policy.”
At a joint question and answer session with workers at Skanska’s offices in Hertfordshire, the PM was asked what reassurances he could provide about onshore wind subsidies.
Mr Cameron said the Government “shouldn’t keep subsidies for longer than they are necessary and so that’s something we’ll be looking at”.
He said: “The big picture is that we have put our money where our mouth is, we said we were going to be the greenest government ever and we’ve set up a Green Investment Bank which is investing in these schemes.
“I think you can say there’s a long-term plan, there’s long term funds available, the offshore wind industry that Britain has is now the biggest in the world.
“We have now got the largest offshore wind farm anywhere in the world built off the coast of the UK and another one coming on stream almost as big very, very shortly.
“In terms of onshore wind, obviously there will come a time when we will have built enough to meet all our targets and so I’ve always said with subsidies, we shouldn’t keep subsidies for longer than they are necessary and so that’s something we’ll be looking at.
“But I would argue that if you look anywhere else around Europe I would challenge anyone to find a more attractive set of renewable incentives for energy than in this country.”
The trade association for wind, wave and tidal power companies, RenewableUK, described Mr Cameron’s comments as irresponsible and said they could threaten jobs and investment in the industry.
Jennifer Webber, of RenewableUK, said: “Onshore wind is already the cheapest mainstream renewable electricity technology and developers are committed to getting the costs down further.
“It’s irresponsible and unnecessary, however, to talk about arbitrary limits for onshore wind – increasing policy risk like that just pushes costs up, and threatens investment and the 19,000 jobs supported by the sector.”
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