Tories call for wind farm subsidies to be abolished

A group of backbench MPs is stepping up its fight to have subsidies for new onshore wind farms abolished.

The group, led by Northamptonshire MP Peter Bone, has tabled a Private Members’ Bill that is scheduled for debate in the House of Commons on today (6 March).

The Wind Farm Subsidies (Abolition) Bill demands an end to all government subsidies for onshore wind developments in England and Wales.

See also: Tories to end onshore wind subsidies if re-elected

The Bill states:

“No payment shall be made by any government department or agency:

(a) in excess of the prevailing wholesale price of electricity in respect of electricity generated by onshore wind farms;

(b) otherwise for the purpose of subsidising the construction, development or operation of onshore wind farms for the purpose of generating electricity”.

Although Private Members’ Bills rarely become law, the call to abolish wind farm subsidies reflects Conservative Party policy.

The Conservatives have already pledged not to subsidise new onshore turbines if they win the general election.

Speaking in December last year, prime minister David Cameron said that people were “fed up” with onshore wind farms being built and added “enough is enough”.

But there is opposition within the coalition government ranks.

During a previous debate, Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey said: “Putting the brakes on onshore wind would be disastrous for business and jobs in our growing green economy.”

Mr Davey backed up his argument with statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), which showed that the technology is supported by 67% of the public.

Gemma Grimes, director of onshore renewables at trade association RenewableUK, has echoed Mr Davey’s statement.

“Onshore wind is a great British success story – it’s one of the most cost-effective technologies and enjoys consistently high levels of public support.

“So it’s disappointing to see an MP [Peter Bone] so far out of touch with public opinion,” Ms Grimes told Farmers Weekly.

“Far from saving consumers money, Mr Bone’s proposals would simply make decarbonisation more expensive.

“Wind can deliver large amounts of low-carbon power at ever lower costs – even cheaper than new nuclear,” she added.