Amber Rudd has confirmed the Government will push ahead with plans to scrap subsidies for new onshore wind farms, placing ministers on a potential collision course with the House of Lords.
The Government’s original Energy Bill set out provisions to get rid of the subsidies from April of this year - a year earlier than planned. However, that element of the proposed legislation was successfully scrapped by peers.
But introducing the Bill for its second reading in the House of Commons, the Energy Secretary said it will be put back in.
Ms Rudd said the proposal was in the Conservatives’ 2015 election manifesto and must be implemented. The Energy Secretary said the move would save £20 million to £200 million every year.
Graham Stuart, Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness, welcomed a Government commitment to look at how much the different types of renewable energy cost to produce.
He stressed the need for an objective assessment “so we can make a proper judgment of the benefits of one form of clean energy versus another”.
“Until we have that clarity over what the real costs are it is hard to create the framework of incentives that we want to bring on the cleanest possible transformation at the lowest possible cost,” he said.
Julie Elliott, Labour MP for Sunderland Central, spoke against the proposed onshore wind subsidy cuts and questioned why the policy is being pursued by the Government.
She said: “I am fully aware of the Government’s concerns about the financial integrity of the levy control framework and indeed I share these concerns.
“We need a fully funded, functioning levy control framework to fund clean energy developments and as the levy control framework is funded by bill payers it is absolutely crucial that we protect it and ensure value for money for people.
“Yet this Bill does not do that. In terms of the impact on consumer bills the impact assessment demonstrates that in the Government’s central scenario this policy is projected to save bill payers 30p.
“In terms of the levy control framework, again in the Government’s central scenario, this policy is projected to save £20 million out of a budget in 2021 of £7.9 billion.
“This measure doesn’t appear to be protecting bill payers at all, rather it seems drafted for the purposes of appeasing climate change sceptics.”
Tory MP Julian Sturdy (York Outer) supported the move.
He said: “People are frankly fed up with so many wind farms being built in their backyards with their own hard-earned taxpayer’s money and without their say.”