For years, groups have campaigned in the United Kingdom to end renewable energy subsidies. Now it seems like the opposition may get its wish as UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne are supporting a measure to eliminate onshore wind subsidies worth £400 million annually.
Homeowners in the United Kingdom have been footing the bill for wind and solar developments for years as additional charges to cover the subsidies are included on household electricity bills. Critics refer to this as a “stealth tax” since these subsidies add £80 to the average electric bill as an included charge.
“It is being paid out to rich land owners and foreign energy companies and developers,” said Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office minister.
Details regarding renewable energy subsidies for the next 5 years will be released soon by Energy Secretary Ed Davey; they may be subject to more than the planned 10 percent reduction in that time period.
This will certainly affect Prime Minister Cameron’s pledge after his election in 2010 to head up “the greenest government ever.” The Telegraph refers to the timing as “embarrassing” for the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Clegg will represent the UK in Brazil this week during the United Nations Rio +20 Earth Summit. The summit will include over 26,000 representatives from around the world who are collaborating on international sustainability measures.
Wind power critics laud the end of subsidies even as more than 3,000 onshore wind turbines are in operation in Great Britain with another 4,500 in development.
However, there are still active renewable energy projects in the United Kingdom, such as the Isle of Wight, located just a couple of miles off of the main coast of England. It will become a showcase for renewable energy and sustainability practices in all areas of modern living.
The “Eco Island” project exemplifies UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ plan, a concept loosely described as communities and private businesses working together to become self-sufficient. Read more about the Eco Island here.