Will ending onshore wind farm subsidies make a real difference to customers’ bills?

The government has moved forward the end date for onshore wind energy subsidies from April 2017 to 2016 (Source: Getty)

Amber Rudd, energy and climate change secretary, says Yes

If we’d allowed the existing subsidy arrangement to continue, we could have ended up with more projects than we can afford – which would have led to either higher bills, or other renewable technologies losing out on support. Our cap on renewable energy spending gives as much long-term certainty to investors as possible, while controlling consumer bills.

There is enough onshore wind in the pipeline to play a significant part in meeting our renewable energy commitments. We are committed to combatting climate change in the most cost-effective way for bill payers by helping technologies stand on their own two feet.

It’s all part of our long-term plan to keep the lights on and our homes warm, power the economy with cleaner energy, and keep bills as low as possible for hard-working families. We are committed to cutting our carbon emissions by fostering enterprise, competition, opportunity and growth.

Tony Lodge, a research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies. His new pamphlet The Great Green Hangover will be published later this year, says No

Ending subsidies for new onshore wind is welcome and the right thing to do, but it still remains too small a measure to place real downward pressure on bills. Over the last 10 years, annual average energy prices have risen by 131 per cent, easily outstripping other living essentials. And this is against the backdrop of a reduction in the amount of energy used.

Bills will only fall consistently when policies are less driven to subsidising expensive renewables and when the UK can take full advantage of the cheapest fuels available. These must include gas and coal to generate electricity.

The government has legally binding targets to decarbonise; why doesn’t it have targets to reduce bills and deliver a diverse energy mix? Green taxes hit £44.6bn last year and the bill for renewable subsidies rose to £3bn. It’s time for the Conservatives to deliver a lower cost energy policy.

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