No more onshore wind farm subsidies in the UK

Posted: May 17, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy, government, wind

A dying breed?

A dying breed?

A drastic energy policy change by the new UK government as GWPF reports:

Local residents will be able to block all future onshore wind farms under new measures to be fast-tracked into law, the new energy secretary has announced. “It will mean no more onshore wind farm subsidies and no more onshore wind farms without local community support.”

Amber Rudd revealed she had “put a rocket” under her officials to “put the local community back in charge” of their own neighbourhoods.

In an interview with The Sunday Times she also said the Tory government would kick-start a shale gas revolution and loosen rules so it could be extracted from under national parks.

No subsidies will be paid to operators of new onshore wind turbines under legislation to be included in the Queen’s speech. The legislation, which Rudd is “hopeful” will be law by the middle of next year, will ensure that consent for new wind farms will have to be given by a local council planning authority, which will be duty-bound to consult residents. Under current planning rules, big onshore wind farms are handled by a central government national infrastructure body that can ignore the wishes of local people.

Rudd said: “It will mean no more onshore wind farm subsidies and no more onshore wind farms without local community support.

Source: UK Energy Minister Announces New Law Against Wind Farms | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

  1. wolsten says:

    Does anyone know where this leaves us with respect to wind farm applications currently being considered? What happens if they are approved before this legislation goes through?

  2. tallbloke says:

    The general rule in the UK is that new legislation is not retrospective when it comes into force. So if current applications are approved, then they are approved. In practice however, with the writing being on the wall, we may see less schemes being approved by the government where they over-rule local council planning body refusals.

  3. wolsten says:

    Thanks Rog. The council here in Rochdale have rejected the last two applications but both got through on appeal to the national inspector in Bristol. I am guessing the subsidies for the new applications being reviewed now would only trigger once the appeal (or judicial review if the council approves) hurdle was cleared by the applicant?

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    Wow! What a difference a decisive election win makes. Or are the words of Lynton Crosby in his Telegraph interview ringing in a few ears (lose contact with your supporters, lose the election)?

    Finally some sign of sanity or is it too early to say?.

  5. marchesarosa says:

    Very interesting, informative video, Roger, originating with Richard North’s EU Referendum organisation about how to frame the discussion over leaving the EU


  6. oldbrew says:

    Scottish Energy News seems to think Scotland will still be able to have onshore wind subsidies after the new law comes in.

  7. It is not clear whether this applies to individual wind turbines as well as to wind farms. All it needs is for the subsidies under the RO and FiT schemes to be cut to zero for onshore wind. Then the subsidies should be cut to zero for offshore wind, for ground-mounted solar, for tidal lagoons etc etc. Oh to dream awhile for a bit of government sanity.

  8. smamarver says:

    I’m more or less familiar with this topic and I know that there are many local groups that are leading protests against wind farms. It seems that they cost a lot (so it’s hard to talk about cheap energy), they alter the landscape and they kill a lot of birds also. As for the off-shore wind farms, from what I’ve read here –, they seem to influence ocean’s temperature and, since they influence ocean they also influence climate. Shortly, I don’t know if these wind parks are a good idea…..

  9. Climatism says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Hundred’s of billions of dollars and thousands of birds, bats and trees later, sanity prevails …

  10. dscott says:

    My, my, my, a pragmatic bureaucrat. And you were all worried Rudd would be more of the same? You might describe her as a sophisticated Tory like we in the US call RINOs (Republican in name only). Such types like the praise of the well connected but have a link to their roots. She will be an inconsistent ally, but one a good portion of the time.

  11. michael hart says:

    It’s a good start. But not yet a sane energy policy while the Climate Change Act is in place.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Yes, trying to slay dragons that only turn up in climate models is still a popular sport with many politicians 😎

  13. Stephen Richards says:

    Not enough!! They need to STOP ALL GREEN Subsides. NOW !

  14. “With every turn of their blade another subsidy paid,
    A disguised redistribution of wealth;
    The poor pay higher amounts to fund “green” bank accounts,
    Enrichment through environmental stealth….”

    Read more: http:///

  15. Fanakapan says:

    Expect to see ‘Horror’ stories of windmill employed folk being rendered jobless 🙂

    As for energy policy in general, we must be pretty close to Crunch Point ? Which will necessitate a .Gov decision that likely wont be Green.

    Also, given that the Green destination was going to involve 90% (?) more windmills being erected in order to reach their Utopia of Sustainability. And with no subsidy for onshore, and offshore being Insanely pricey, it must mean that the dream is over ?

  16. tallbloke says:

    Amber Rudd is sister of PR guru Roland Rudd. He sits on the board of British influence, the pro-EU outfit that posts twaddle like this on twitter.

  17. oldbrew says:

    Daily Mail: ‘She worked on hit film Four Weddings and a Funeral as an aristocracy co-ordinator.’
    Director Richard Curtis said: ‘She knew a lot of dukes and earls.’

    Read more:

    Won’t some of these aristos be a bit put out that the onshore – i.e. on their land if they can get it approved – wind turbine gravy train is being sidelined?

  18. PeterF says:

    Now that we have had the Queen’s speech, what did it say about subsidies for wind farms? I guess that nothing was reported, nothing had been said. Correct?

  19. oldbrew says:

    Energy Bill: ‘Measures will be introduced to “increase energy security” and ensure there will be “affordable and reliable energy for businesses and families”. The government proposes to establish the Oil and Gas Authority as an independent regulator, charged with regulation of domestic oil and gas recovery. It would transfer responsibility for giving consent for any large onshore wind farms in England and Wales from Whitehall to local planning authorities.’

    So Big Wind knows who it has to, er… impress 😉

    ‘The government in its manifesto pledged to end subsidies to onshore wind farms, the cheapest form of large-scale renewable power. That promise will be delivered through separate changes to be announced soon by the energy department, according to the government statement.’

  20. wolsten says:

    I would have liked more detail than “Measures will be introduced to increase energy security and to control immigration.”

  21. tallbloke says:

    Peter F:
    “The government in its manifesto pledged to end subsidies to onshore wind farms, the cheapest form of large-scale renewable power. That promise will be delivered through separate changes to be announced soon by the energy department, according to the government statement.

    “We will continue to reform the electricity market to ensure the necessary investment is made to transition to a low carbon electricity system at the lowest cost to consumers,” the government said.”

  22. oldbrew says:

    Telegraph: Wind farm subsidies facing the axe

    ‘Generous taxpayer subsidies will be cut off earlier than expected, effectively preventing thousands of turbines from being built, under plans being considered by Amber Rudd, the energy secretary’

    ‘Subsidies that have fuelled the spread of onshore wind farms are to be dramatically curtailed, under Government plans to be unveiled within days.’ – so says the report.

  23. oldbrew says:

    If wind turbines have a future, could this be it?

    [credit: Siemens]

  24. tallbloke says:

    Not a moment too soon. In fact, years late. Keep an eye on this one, let’s see if we can get the scoop.

  25. PeterF says:

    Well, to quote another German chap, apparently with experience in political promises: The message well I hear, my faith alone is weak. (Goethe) I’ll believe it when I see action supporting the words!

    I only believe in talkshop bringing the news in due time 😉

    I am surprised the vertical axis turbine is brought up again. It had been more in the front news a few years ago, but as far as I know it has an inherently lower efficiency. But presenting this toy sized unit as a new wave is not convincing. Furthermore, “noise” is understood as audible noise, but more concern is now about infrasound from wind turbines. So how is the infrasound situation with the vertical axis concept? As the severeness of infrasound distturbance will increase with size, there is currently now way of knowing. Extrapolation from toy sized systems is not warranted!

  26. oldbrew says:

    The Scot Nats are not amused…
    ‘Nicola Sturgeon has demanded that David Cameron give her a veto over cutting taxpayer subsidies for wind farms as experts warned MSPs that “over-egging” renewable energy will lead to increased consumer bills and intermittent supply.’

    ‘Intermittent supply’ is the thing they won’t face up to – presumably until it happens (power cuts), then some scapegoat will probably get the sack 😦

    Roadside sign seen in southern Scotland:

  27. tallbloke says:

    OB: Love the roadside sign.

    Peter F: VAWT designs (vertical axis wind turbines) are as you say a lot less efficient. Except in urban canyons where wind direction changes a lot, where they are are equally as inefficient as HAWT designs.

  28. oldbrew says:

    Spanners in the works…

    ‘Conservative proposals to axe onshore wind farm subsidies are being delayed amid fears they will trigger a costly legal battle with green energy companies and a damaging dispute with the Scottish Government.’

    ‘About 3,000 onshore wind turbines already have planning permission and many of these would have expected to be able to qualify for subsidies under the scheme.
    Almost 3,000 more turbines are still seeking planning permission.

    Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of wind industry body Renewable UK, said: “The industry will fight against any attempts to bring in drastic and unfair changes utilising the full range of options open, including legal means if appropriate.” ‘

  29. PeterF says:

    Looks like Goethe was right after all!
    And who knows, maybe the UK government is using this as a convenient way to say: “Look, we tried, but it didn’t work”?

    Funny that Scotland, whose remaining in the UK was so hard fought for, are now beginning to milk those who fought the most…

    Strange, too – at least for me – that feeding at the troughs of subsidies seems to establish the legal right to be fed continuously. What else does it mean that a legal battle might succeed against cutting wind subsidies? According to the telegraph
    the legal, successful fight against cuts in solar subsidies may have already established a legal precedent. That seems to be odd, even when seen from a country rich in oddities, like Germany.

    I keep watching.

  30. oldbrew says:

    Not sure planning permission alone provides a legal guarantee that you can claim subsidies later.

  31. PeterF says:

    Not sure, indeed.

    Though I don’t know the circumstances, but the telegraph article seems to suggest that something similar has already worked for solar.

  32. wolsten says:

    If this is try then I am not sure why I am bothering to protest about TTIP given that many of the developers are registered in the BVI.

  33. oldbrew says:

    In the case of UK solar panels, the legal challenge was from people who had already spent money, or at least signed a binding contract, and wanted the subsidies that were in force at the time they committed themselves (not those in force at the time that they were claiming them, which were by then lower or even zero). Or so it seems…

    The problem arose because the government gave very short notice of the changes, which seems to be repeating itself with the new wind subsidy policy.