Renewable subsidies change - but is the government shuffling windmills on the Titanic?

Ministers are set to announce a shakeup of how renewable energy is subsidised. Public funding for onshore wind and solar is to be cut while funding for on shore wind will be increased.

Chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander said the change was "a rebalancing" but overall government spending on renewable energy will remain at current levels.

The fixed prices for onshore wind and solar will be cut in 2015 while prices for onshore wind will be raised.

The government's move will certainly be politically popular for both coalition parties, many of whose MPs are facing fierce competition from UKIP candidates who have a strong anti wind power position.

The government hinted earlier in the week that significant changes to the funding of renewable energy would be on the cards.

Minister of state for energy, Michael Fallon said:

Investment in renewables cannot be done at any price. It must be affordable for consumers. And the cost of that new investment needs to be spread more fairly, much more fairly.

Subsidies for renewable energy have been subject to severe criticism for raising energy prices and distorting the energy market. In 2012 the big six energy companies received close to £900m through consumer subsidies added to household bills. The UK is paying a high price for its commitment to green energy with the cost of the renewable obligation is set to double, reaching £2.5bn and costing each household £97 a year by 2015.

Not only are the policies expensive for consumers but they may be failing to tackle carbon emissions in the most effective way possible.

Max Luke of the Breakthrough Institute in California found that since 1950, natural gas and nuclear technology together prevented 36 times more carbon emissions than wind, solar, and geothermal. Nuclear avoided the creation of 28bn tonnes of carbon dioxide, natural gas 26bn, and geothermal, wind, and solar 1.5bn.