Ministers are being accused of covertly reintroducing consumer subsidies for onshore wind turbines, despite the Conservatives’ pledge to ditch the lucrative incentives for energy firms. A new government green energy scheme will guarantee payments to operators of pairs of turbines each up to 490 feet high, and solar farms spanning up to 20 acres, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. Campaigners against further onshore turbines said the policy could encourage an “explosion” of new wind and solar schemes across the country, as well as the extension of existing projects. The move comes despite a Tory manifesto promise to halt the spread of onshore wind farms and “end any new public subsidy for them” after a rebellion by 100 MPs concerned about the impact of giant turbines on local residents, and the subsidies driving their construction. Last night Chris Heaton Harris, the former minister who led a backbench revolt over the issue before joining the Government, said: “I’ll be raising questions about this to ensure that we are not going back on manifesto pledges. “We need to invest in research and development for new technologies, not continue to bankroll old, matured industries.” The new scheme, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) was announced by ministers last week. Officials said it would see homeowners and “green businesses” with solar panels and wind turbines paid for the “excess” energy exported to the National Grid. But a new analysis shows that it would also allow energy firms to guarantee themselves potentially lucrative payments for solar and wind energy. A briefing note written by Dr John Constable, energy editor of the Global Warming Policy Forum, which campaigns against radical policies to combat climate change, highlights the Government’s claim that the new scheme would encourage “small-scale generation”. Officials said it would be “available to technologies up to a capacity of 5 megawatts.” But the paper states: “5 MW is sufficient for 20 acres of ground-mounted solar panels, or two wind turbines of 150m in overall height, and in fact it is such far-from-micro generators that are the most probable beneficiaries of this scheme.
Telegraph 15th June 2019 read more »