End of subsidy could slow turbine creep

Drone Hill wind farm at Coldingham Moor
Drone Hill wind farm at Coldingham Moor

Borders Network of Conservation Groups have welcomed plans to bring to a close the current wind turbine subsidy system.

The UK Government announced last week that the existing subsidy system will close earlier than expected in April 2016, with a grace period for projects already with planning permission, and local residents opposed to the extent of turbines in the region are welcoming the decision which they believe will slow the construction of turbines.

John Williamson, chairman of the Borders Network of Conservation Groups, said: “To put this in context, the erection of 100 or so new wind turbines in and around the Lammermuirs alone would add an extra £750 million of subsidies to electricity consumers’ bills – money that would go to wind farm operators and a few large landowners, rather than being better spent on developing innovative future energy sources and making our homes more energy efficient.

“So we welcome the policy intent to slow the construction of wind turbines across the UK, and call upon the Scottish Government to recognise that local communities and electricity consumers have suffered enough at the hands of financial speculators, most of them from outside Scotland.

“The subsidy that is being phased out is funded by levies added to household bills. The Scottish Borders has done its bit for renewables, already producing nearly eight times as much electricity from wind energy than is needed by all the homes in the Borders.

BNCG vice chairman Professor Jack Ponton added: ‘There are now enough turbines operating and consented in Scotland to exceed – by nearly 20% - the Scottish Government’s own target of producing ‘100% of electricity from renewables by 2020’.

“This is a sensible move by the UK Government that will reduce consumers’ bills and increase energy security as it will encourage investment in more reliable forms of generation.”