United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Energy Bill missing detail of RO conclusion

UK: The government's 2015-16 Energy Bill confirms the early conclusion of the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy for onshore wind.

The Energy Bill has started on the Parliamentary process (pic: William Warby)
The Energy Bill has started on the Parliamentary process (pic: William Warby)

The government has published the 2015-16 Energy Bill following its first reading in the Houses of Parliament, as the procedure begins to end the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy.

The bill confirms a closure date of 31 March 2016, however it fails to give any information regarding grace periods for the RO.

In June, when energy minister Amber Rudd announced plans to end the subsidy early, she said there would be grace period to allow projects to gain the subsidy for up to a year after the closure.

Projects likely to be eligible for the grace period are those that have, as of 18 June 2015, planning consents, grid connection agreements and proof they own the land.

Earlier this week, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) invited developers to give feedback on the proposals. With Decc still consulting on the details of the grace period, it is expected information will be added to the bill at a later date, while it is making its way through parliament.

Today's announcement marks the beginning of the law's passage through parliament, which may not be completed until early 2016, perhaps just weeks before the RO is closed.

Yesterday, Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing called the decision to close the RO "anti-business" and trade body Scottish Renewables branded the move "illogical".

The Energy Bill also removes the requirement of the energy minister to give consent for onshore projects in England and Wales.

Amber Rudd is hoping to give more power to local residents in giving consent to projects, she said.

Renewable Obligation Certificates are being replaced by Contracts for Difference auctions, which are already being awarded. An announcement is expected soon by Decc regarding onshore wind's eligibility to qualify as the Conservative Party implements its manifesto pledge to end support for onshore wind. 

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