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Ukip: Change to wind power subsidies a 'political stunt'

The UK Independence Party has called the cut to onshore subsidies a "political stunt" to buy off voters opposed to turbines "despoiling the British countryside".

Energy spokesman Roger Helmer said the change "fails to address the real argument which is the nonsensical and frankly dangerous energy policy this Government is forcing upon UK taxpayers".

He said the taxpayer would still have to fund "this wasteful and downright ridiculous technology to be built out of sight".

Changes to subsidies 'good news' for renewable sector

An industry body representing the renewable energy sector has said that Government changes to subsidies are good news:

Today is actually a good news day for renewable electricity and renewable heat.

The real reason that support for solar and onshore wind will go down is that they are leading the race for cost-competitiveness with fossil fuels. Government policy is working and bringing down costs.

The important thing is that decisions are evidence-based, not purely political, and we need to see the methodology to assess that.

– Dr Nina Skorupska, Renewable Energy Association

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Davey: Cuts to onshore subsidies not driven by politics

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has said that the decision to reduce subsidies was driven by the falling costs of generating onshore and solar energy, and not political pressure.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey
Energy Secretary Ed Davey Credit: ITV News

He told ITV News: "Because of our investments in renewable energy, we are seeing the costs fall ... It means we can still develop onshore wind, still develop solar, but it means we can also bring on some of the technologies for the next decade like offshore wind".

Rural wind farms have been a source of coalition tension, with many senior Conservatives staunchly opposed to the turbines, which Liberal Democrats say are needed to meet environmental objectives.

Danny Alexander: Onshore wind will still play a 'big role'

Danny Alexander has insisted that onshore wind energy will continue to play "a big role" in the UK, despite the decision to reduce Government subsidies in this area.

Stirling Castle with the Braes of Doune wind farm behind it
Stirling Castle with the Braes of Doune wind farm behind it Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury said state help for onshore wind and solar was being reduced "slightly" in favour of offshore wind.

But he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the move would present better "value for money" and could open the way for an extra 10 gigawatts of energy by 2020.

The "strike prices" for renewable energy - the amount of subsidy the taxpayer pays to entice investors to make long-term commitments - is already set well above the current market value, but will be slightly lower for onshore wind and solar.

Read: Shape of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement is beginning to emerge

Government should not 'stifle' wind industry

WWF-UK has warned the government that it should be careful not to "stifle" the onshore wind industry just to silence a "vocal minority".

Nick Molho, the head of climate and energy policy at WWF-UK, said:

Polls consistently show that the public support renewable energy and want more of it - yet parts of the Government seem determined to put up barriers to its development.

The Prime Minister says that he wants the UK to win the low-carbon race, but too often his own side seems to be holding him back.

We'd also hope that the Government will be consistent on its approach to planning and impose similar rules on other parts of the energy sector, such as onshore shale gas development.

– Nick Molho

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Tory MP: 'Beginning of the end' of unwanted turbines

A general view of Wind Turbines at West Somerton on the Norfolk coast. Credit: Stephen Pond/PA Archive

A Conservative MP said the government's new proposals on wind farms that would allow communities to stop them being built in their area marked "the beginning of the end" of unwanted onshore turbines.

Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, said the views of local residents and councils had been "ridden roughshod over" for too long and welcomed the rules.

RenewableUK: Financial 'sweetener' is uneconomic

RenewableUK, an energy trade association, said the government's proposals of giving communities a financial "sweetener" for having wind farms in their area was "uneconomic."

Developing wind farms requires a significant amount of investment to be made upfront.

Adding to this cost, by following the Government's advice that we should pay substantially more into community funds for future projects, will unfortunately make some planned wind energy developments uneconomic in England, so they will not go ahead and that is very disappointing.

That said, we recognise the need to ensure good practice across the industry and will continue to work with Government and local authorities to benefit communities right across the country which are hosting our clean energy future.

– Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK

Over 4,000 wind turbines in UK

The government has announced a raft of new proposals that gives communities the chance to stop wind farms being built in their area.

Here is a look at how important wind turbines are for the UK's energy supply:

  • Onshore wind provided 3% of the UK's electricity supplies in 2011.
  • That generated enough power for the equivalent of 2.5 million homes.
  • More than 4,000 wind turbines are in operation across the country.
  • Almost 6,000 are under or awaiting construction or in the planning system.
  • The industry attracted £1.6 billion in private investment in 2011/2012.
  • It supports approximately 1,800 jobs.

Communities 'should see windfall' of hosting turbines

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the government's wind farm proposals aimed to ensure that communities would "see the windfall" of hosting developments in their area.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive

He said: "It is important that onshore wind is developed in a way that is truly sustainable - economically, environmentally and socially, and today's announcement will ensure that communities see the windfall from hosting developments near to them, not just the wind farm.

"We remain committed to the deployment of appropriately sited onshore wind, as a key part of a diverse, low carbon and secure energy mix and committed to an evidence-based approach to supporting low carbon power."

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