UK renewable subsidy cuts hit onshore wind and solar pv.

Guardian: “Reduced subsidies for onshore windfarms and solar power announced on Wednesday are “good news”, according to a leading renewable energy trade body, because it shows the costs of the technologies are coming down. The cuts set out by the energy secretary, Ed Davey, mean onshore windfarms will for the first time receive lower subsidies than future nuclear power stations.” “However, wind industry sources said the cuts meant small, community-owned windfarms were likely to be cancelled, harming the government’s own intention to overcome opposition to turbines in some places by giving local people a stake in the developments. A small increase in the future subsidy for offshore windfarms was welcomed as significant by developers, though some criticised the government for lacking ambition for the technology in which the UK is a world leader.” “The UK government has today published subsidies for renewable energy generation from next year. Strike prices are the minimum sum the government will pay power companies for electricity they generate and form part of the Electricity Market Reform, a package of measures designed to stimulate up to £110bn of investment in low carbon energy.
Draft strike prices for renewables were published in June, but today’s figures are different – and lower – for some forms of generation.
Support for offshore wind stays at £155/MWh for next year and 2015/16, dropping to £150 in 2016/17 and £140 from 2017/18 onwards.
Onshore wind, however, is being cut by £5/MWh from June’s figure of £100 to £95, and will fall again to £90 from 2017/18.
Other key strike prices published today include £155 MW/h for advanced conversion technologies (with or without CHP); £125 for dedicated biomass (with CHP); £105 for biomass conversion; £145 for geothermal; £120 for large scale solar; and £305 for both wave and tidal projects.
The difference between onshore and offshore wind reflects the maturity of the technology and investment so far for the former, and the need to drive further funding incentives into the latter. The UK also has far greater offshore potential than onshore, with some politicians believing that onshore has reached saturation point.
In July, Prime Minister David Cameron opened London Array, the biggest offshore wind farm in the world, which is off the east coast of England, and in August the second biggest was opened by Energy Minister Michael Fallon.
However, last month, RWE withdrew plans to go ahead and build the Atlantic Array wind farm off the southwest coast of England, citing “market conditions.” which was taken to mean uncertainty over the government’s level of renewable support.”
Solarcentury: How disappointing that the UK Government should again choose to castigate solar for the crime of being too popular. It’s a clever position to take as it implies that the Government is acting responsibly by ‘reining us in’. The argument they have picked today is that offshore wind isn’t getting enough of the pie as the incentives are too generous for solar compared with offshore. But this fails to take account of value for money. Solar is 20% cheaper for energy bill payers than offshore wind. That premium is now set to double to 40% by 2018.  And given that the incentives are paid for out of green levies, it’s horribly ironic that the Government chooses this week to alter the mix of technology to favour the more expensive.
And how disappointing that the BBC should endorse this view by describing solar as controversial. Controversial compared with what? In every Government survey, solar continues to be the most popular renewable technology securing support levels of over 80% in the regular DECC public attitudes survey. A recent YouGov poll found that nearly seven times more people would rather have a solar farm located near them than a gas fracking field and that 71% of the public support the development of responsible solar farms. This accords entirely with our own experience. If we select good sites and put together a responsible development plan, we receive public support.
Our country needs to attract and retain investors in renewable technology (and we support all forms of renewables). However, when reading ministerial comments earlier this week and unnamed government “sources” this morning, there’s an implication that investors will just switch from one technology to another. This is not the case. Many solar investors will simply stop investing in the UK and choose to work with more favourable solar markets elsewhere. And this therefore begs the question: who will be investing in offshore wind? Who are the winners from this review? Could it be the Big 6?