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Onshore wind farm subsidies ‘could continue’ on Scottish islands

Dozens of new onshore wind turbines could be built on Scottish islands – despite the Conservatives promising to end subsidies for the technology by April 2016.

The Department of Energy is reportedly seeking EU state aid clearance for higher subsidy for wind turbines on Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the Government will get around their manifesto pledge by branding the turbines on the islands “separate technology” to elsewhere.

Conservative MP Peter Lilley, a vocal critic of wind farm costs, said the plan sounded “inconsistent with the manifesto commitment”.

He told the paper: “The whole idea that we don’t subsidise the cheaper form of wind energy but do subsidise the more expensive is slightly bizarre and this is a further twist to the bizarreness – that is it is sufficiently expensive on land we will subsidise it as well.”

Michael Rieley, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s island regions boast some of the greatest renewable energy resources in Europe, with among the most efficient wind power sites anywhere in the British Isles.”

A DECC spokesman said: “There is absolutely no change to our commitment to end new onshore wind subsidies. As we set out in June 2015, wind power in the Remote Islands will not receive subsidies through the old Renewables Obligation system anyway.

“We will set out decisions about technologies which qualify for subsidies through the new Contracts for Difference system in due course.

“Our actions have shown that we will be tough on subsidies, in order to keep bills down for our families and businesses and ensure value for money.”