In a letter today to the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, First Minister Alex Salmond has made it clear that the Scottish government intends to continue making consumers pay for even more unreliable and inefficient onshore wind farms.
The government in Whitehall has delayed its decision on how much to reduce the subsidy payable to wind farm developers, among increasing signs that ministers realise the intrinsic lack of affordability of renewable energy technologies currently available. According to Prof Tony Trewavas of the Scientific Alliance Scotland “Mr Salmond’s proposal to make only a 10% cut in the subsidy onshore wind farm developers receive will continue to push up prices for Scottish consumers and further reduce the competiveness of our economy.”
Although the UK government is yet to make a decision, there are suggestions that a cut of 25% in the subsidy may be announced later in the year. This is expected to make many development proposals economically unviable. “It beggars belief that the First Minister is prepared to risk the Scottish economy for a technology which will require substantial subsidy for the foreseeable future, while doing very little to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Government should be doing its best to provide an affordable, secure energy supply for everyone, rather than blindly trying to meet irrational and arbitrary targets for renewables,” said Martin Livermore, director of the Scientific Alliance.
Although onshore wind remains the least expensive renewable energy option, there are additional costs also borne by consumers. In particular, there have been reports over the weekend of some English local authorities cutting council tax for homes close to wind farms as the inevitable lowering of nearby house prices has become apparent.