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Government pushes ahead with plan to end public subsidy for onshore wind

The government has confirmed plans to close a public subsidy for onshore wind farms across Great Britain from 1 April 2016.

Power generating companies were previously entitled to Renewable Obligation Certificates for the energy they produced from onshore wind schemes in operation before April 2017.

However, in the new move, onshore wind farms that are not in operation by April 2016 will miss out on the certificates, which will pay out for 20 years.

The government set out a grace period criteria in an amendment to the Energy Bill which it said would make almost 3GW of onshore wind capacity eligible for the subsidy scheme.

It said that to be eligible for the grace period, projects woulld need to demonstrate that they had reached certain stages in the planning process by 18 June this year, and had a grid connection and land rights in place at that date.

Projects that met those criteria and could demonstrate that they had struggled to secure finance from lenders would be allowed up to nine months longer to become operational, said the Department of Energy and Climate Change, effectively giving them until the end of 2016.

Energy minister Lord Bourne said: “We have a long-term plan to keep the lights on and our homes warm, power the economy with cleaner energy, and keep bills as low as possible for hard-working families and businesses.

“To do this we will help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies. By bringing forward these amendments we are protecting bill payers while meeting our renewable energy commitments.”

In June, contractors in Scotland warned of “serious impact” on jobs if the Renewables Obligation scheme was ended early.

Meanwhile the government is consulting on plans to limiting the budget for new expenditure under the feed-in tariff subsidy initiative to as little as £75M from January 2016 to the end of 2018/19

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