Yesterday the Government announced what amounts to a cut in deployment of onshore wind power by 50 per cent and a cut in the amount of large scale solar farms that can be deployed to more or less zero.
Since 2010 onshore wind has been installed at a rate of around 1000 MW (1GW) a year. But yesterdays announcement, with only £50 million per year of extra money allocated for new projects for so-called 'mature' technologies such as onshore wind and solar farms, means that there is not enough money for more than around 500 MW of onshore wind to be deployed a year until 2020. This means that only around 2500 MW, less than half the 7000 MW of consented onshore windfarms (and none of the many proposed solar farms,) can be deployed.
(Note: £50 million a year will fund about 1.1TWh new electricity a year assuming around £45 per MWh is needed to make up the difference between a wholesale electricity price of £45-50 per MWh and a cost of £90-95 per MWh set by the Government to be paid to onshore windfarms. 1.1 TWh a year will be generated from around 500 MW of wind power).
The Solar Trade Association has highlighted the effective end of the large solar farm deployment programme. Less attention has been paid to the cuts in onshore windfarms, although RenewableUK have expressed their disappointment in the Government announcement. Both solar and wind will be competing for the same pot of money, and despite considerable falls in cost in recent years, solar is still likely to be undercut by onshore wind.
This policy speaks volumes about the Liberal Democrats lack of influence, and the extent of the policy victory won by Conservative opponents of onshore large scale renewables. Instead the Conservatives are succeeding in their policy of mainly funding only some of the more expensive renewables, namely some offshore wind projects and some rooftop solar pv schemes.
This result falls in line with my earlier projections that the UK will miss meeting its EU renewable energy target by a large margin. See:
and the government's announcement of a 'boost' to renewable energy at: