Solar power subsidies to be cut under plans to reduce green energy costs
Proposed measures include cutting aid to small-scale solar power installations, with option of ending subsidies for roof-top panels earlier than expected
The government has unveiled sweeping plans to cut subsidies to the renewableenergy sector, saying costs are out of control and the consumer must be protected from soaring bills.
The measures are more draconian than expected and Greenpeace argued it would badly damage investment and crush the credibility of David Cameron’s government on tackling climate change.
Following an earlier assault on onshore wind farms, solar energy and power generated by biomass – wood pellets and plants – are now in the main line of fire. The government proposals include removing a guaranteed level of subsidy for coal-powered plants that were to be converted to green energy.
A consultation is also to be launched on the scale of subsidies for smaller solar power installations, which will include the option of removing aid for roof-top panels earlier than expected.
There will also be a review of another subsidy regime, the feed-in tariff – covering solar and wind power – which ministers say will produce significant further savings.
Amber Rudd, the energy and climate change secretary, said the aim was to bring costs under control and she denied it would chase away investment.
She added: “My priorities are clear. We need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.
“Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies. We’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst protecting existing investment”.
The government said it had already provided vital financial support to the renewable sector to help create new and innovative technologies, reduce carbon emissions and increase the amount of low-carbon electricity that powers homes and businesses across the UK.