For immediate release 23 June 2015
Relief for rural Borderers – and all
electricity consumers - as expensive wind farm subsidy axed
Last week’s announcement by the UK Government to bring the current generous subsidy system for wind turbines to a close in April 2016, 12 months earlier
than originally planned, has been widely welcomed by rural dwellers across the Scottish Borders.
John Williams, chairman of the Borders Network of Conservation Groups (BNCG), said: ‘To put this in context, there are now
proposals to erect more than 160 plus huge new wind turbines along this side of the border between the A68 and the A7, centred on Wauchope. ‘
Even if just 100 of these wind turbines got the go ahead with subsidies, they would
add an extra three quarters of a billion pounds (£750 million) of subsidies to electricity consumers’ bills – money that would go to wind farm operators and a few large landowners, rather than being better spent on investigating and developing
innovative future energy sources and making our homes more energy efficient.
‘So we welcome the policy intent to slow the construction of wind turbines across the UK, and call upon the Scottish Government to recognise that local communities
and electricity consumers have suffered enough at the hands of financial speculators, most of them from outside Scotland, who put up wind turbines to farm subsidies not to save the planet.’
‘The subsidy that is being phased
out earlier than expected is funded by levies added to household bills. The Scottish Borders has done its bit for renewables, already producing nearly eight times as much electricity from wind energy than is needed by all the homes in the Borders.
BNCG vice chairman Jack Ponton added: ‘There are now enough turbines operating and consented in Scotland to exceed – by nearly 20% - the Scottish Government’s own target of producing ‘100% of electricity from renewables by 2020’,
while output from operating and consented renewables projects across the UK now exceeds by 34% Britain’s electricity obligations under the Climate Change Act.
‘There is clearly no point in the UK exceeding its commitments to build
expensive renewable capacity which will have no measurable impact on global emissions and, due to its intermittent nature, make no contribution to security of supply. Enough is enough.’
Professor Ponton concluded: ‘This is a sensible
move by the UK Government that will reduce consumers' bills and increase energy security as it will encourage investment in more reliable forms of generation.’
'It is hard to see how wind developers can claim that the removal of a consumer paid
subsidy currently costing consumes nearly half a billion a year will somehow cost them more money.'
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has said there will be a grace period for projects already with planning permission.
For more information, please contact:
John Williams (BNCG chairman) on 01875 835679 or 07768 327107
Professor Jack Ponton (BNCG vice chair) on 0131 557 0536 and 01896 849 557 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
The subsidy being phased out is the Renewable Obligation scheme, originally introduced to provide an incentive to companies to develop new renewable energy technologies. Smaller wind farms will continue
to benefit from the premium they are paid for producing electricity through feed in tariffs.
The Borders Network of Conservation Groups (BNCG) exists to promote appreciation and protection of the unique and beautiful landscape and amenity
of the Scottish Borders. BNCG is not politically aligned, and is a not-for-profit, fully constituted umbrella organisation of some twenty groups across the Borders which share a concern for landscape and amenity conservation. Visit the BNCG website at http://www.bordersnetwork.co.uk.
Although energy policy is reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government has used its control over the planning system to consent the construction of thousands of turbines across the countryside, ignoring Scotland’s
most senior planning officials who have warned that the countryside risked becoming a ‘wind farm landscape’. The Scottish Government has even reprimanded council planners, Scottish Borders Council included, for setting aside too little
land for wind farms.
To date, there have been more than 6,000 objections from at least 3500 people in the BRS area to clusters or single wind turbines and smaller wind farm but this figure does not include objections to the massive
50 MW plus Section 36 wind farms (operating or proposed) which go straight to the Scottish Government for determination.
The Scottish Government’s target of ‘100% renewable electricity’ is predicted to need between 14GW
and 16GW of installed capacity. By the end of October 2014, 7.1GW was operational and 8.684GW under construction or consented. By January 2015, a further 0.366GW was consented, bringing the total to 16.15GW – and there is at least another 4GW is in planning.
The consent rate in 2013 was 51% (141 out of 275 proposals). Operational and consented capacity would be capable of generating about 43.6TWh/yr against a typical annual consumption of 36.6TWh, i.e. 119% of Scottish electricity demand. (Scottish
Government, Energy Statistics, March 2015 and planning database.)
The transformation of Scotland's electricity generation between 2010 and 2020 is extraordinary but it presents the Scottish Government with a double-edged sword: although its 2020
RE target may have been comfortably exceeded five years early, unless a solution is rapidly devised, Scotland risks wasting most of its expensively produced green electricity. Not only is there no need for any more wind in Scotland’s
energy mix but the country’s lack of conventional supply will ensure long-term reliance on the UK and Europe for the safety of Scotland's electricity supply.
Scotland has around 61% of the UK’s onshore wind fleet but England has some 90%
of the offshore.
NEWS RELEASE For immediate release 27 April 2015
General Election: South of Scotland candidates pitch in on wind farm policy