U.K. Says Ending Wind Subsidies Will Cut Other Renewables’ Costs

(Bloomberg) — A U.K. decision to end subsidies to onshore
wind farms earlier than planned will pull down the cost of other
technologies such as windmills at sea, the government said.

Scrapping premium payments to the cheapest clean power
means more money can go to costlier, less mature renewables,
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said Monday in Parliament.

“Without action we could end up with more onshore wind
projects than we can afford and that could lead either to higher
bills for consumers or other technologies that aren’t as mature
missing out on support,” Rudd said. “Bills won’t rise.”

The government last week proposed to cut-off new onshore
wind projects from a subsidy program a year early, meeting an
election pledge by the ruling Conservatives to end assistance
for the technology. The move has garnered criticism from the
clean-energy industry because it would halt assistance to the
cheapest form of large-scale renewable power.

Land-based wind costs about $85 a megawatt-hour, compared
with about $90.7 for coal, according to Bloomberg estimates.

Britain wants to get 30 percent of its electricity from
renewables by 2020 and is on course to achieve this, Rudd said.

Onshore wind farms have received as much as 800 million
pounds ($1.27 billion) of subsidies and there are about 490
projects operating across the country, she said.

“Government support is designed to help technologies to
stand on their own two feet and not to become reliant on
subsidies,” Rudd said.

Renewable Energy Generation Ltd., a U.K. clean energy
developer, said Monday that five of its onshore wind projects
that aren’t yet built will still be eligible to receive
subsidies after the government decision.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Louise Downing in London at
ldowning4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Tony Barrett, Dylan Griffiths

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