David Cameron has dismissed claims that a decision to cut subsidies for on-shore wind farms will affect a £3 million investment by Nissan in the North East.
The motor manufacturer said it was continuing to discuss funding with the Government.
Mr Cameron was quizzed in the House of Commons by Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson, who highlighted an announcement last year that new onshore wind farms will be excluded from a subsidy scheme from 1 April 2016 – a year earlier than expected.
Nissan has applied to Sunderland City Council for permission to add five more turbines to ten already running on its site by the side of the A19, which contribute towards energy needs at its Sunderland plant where 4,500 people are directly employed.
Ms Hodgson told the House of Commons: “Last year, the Energy Secretary scrapped support under the renewables obligation for new onshore wind projects.
“This will impact Nissan’s £3 million investment in its wind farm in my constituency.
“Does the Prime Minister realise that his attacks on clean energy are detrimental to pro-green businesses such as Nissan? Will he look at this immediately and rectify the matter in the Energy Bill next week?”
Mr Cameron said subsidies for renewable energy had to be limited because they put up fuel bills.
He said: “Every single subsidy that is given to these technologies is extra money that we put on to people’s bills, making their energy more expensive.
“So it is right that we seek a balance between decarbonising our economy and making sure we do it at a low cost to our consumers and the people who pay the bills. That is what our policy is all about.”
He told MPs: “We are going to see another 50% increase in onshore wind investment during this Parliament. Also, Britain has the biggest offshore wind market anywhere in the world.”
He added: “Britain has the fourth largest solar installation of any country anywhere in the world. Indeed, my new favourite statistic is that 98% of those solar panels have been installed since I was Prime Minister.
“This is all good news, and it means that we have a genuine claim to be leading a renewables revolution.”
Asked for a response, a Nissan spokesperson said: “ Nissan has applied for planning permission to extend the wind farm at our Sunderland Plant by an additional five turbines. We are currently discussing the availability of grant support with the UK Government.”
If approved, the five new turbines would have a maximum tip height of 76 metres, a hub height of up to 50 metres and their three blades would be up to 26 metres in length.
They would have a total generating capacity of up to 4.25 megawatts.
Contractors would be encouraged to use local firms and skills and the turbines themselves would be built off-site in sections and put together over a short period of time.
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd last year told MPs that cutting the subsidy was likely to mean 2,500 planned turbines would not be built.
She told MPs the change “draws the line in the right place” and said consumer bills would not rise as a result.
The funding for the subsidy comes from the Renewables Obligation, which is funded by levies added to household fuel bills.
An end to this subsidy had previously been expected in 2017.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Contributions