May 16, 2016

DECC wins Energy Bill Battle

Labour spokesman Lord Grantchester withdraws amendment

The Energy Bill is to become law without changes to the government’s grace period criteria for wind farms affected by the early closure of the Renewables Obligation.

Labour’s energy spokesman Lord Grantchester last night withdrew an amendment that would have resulted in an extra 66.3MW capacity from four Scottish wind farms on top of the government-backed grace period wind farms.

The withdrawal brought to an end a month-long game of ping pong between the Commons and the Lords.

With Parliament set to be prorogued tomorrow, the Energy Bill is expected to gain Royal Assent ahead of the state opening of Parliament on 18 May.

Lord Grantchester’s amendment made provision to widen the grace period until 31 March 2017 for wind farms where the relevant planning authority had resolved to grant planning permission by 18 June 2015 and had issued legal agreements by 18 September.

Speaking in the Lords, Lord Grantchester said: “By turning this down, the Conservative government are following an ideological belligerence against onshore wind farms that enjoy local support and offer value for money, while simultaneously defending generous handouts to fund more expensive alternatives.”

Defending the Bill, energy minister Lord Bourne said: “The policy as set out by the Government strikes a fair balance between the public interest, including protecting consumer bills and ensuring an appropriate energy mix, and the interests of onshore wind developers."

RenewableUK chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “With the pain of the Energy Bill finally behind us, we need to look forward and find sensible ways to take advantage of wind power to ensure consumers’ electricity bills are as low as possible.”

"The overall cost of onshore wind is continuing to fall, with new onshore wind cheaper than new gas - even at a time of low gas prices. This shift has also been reported by Policy Exchange, Bright Blue and the Committee on Climate Change, which all confirm the low cost of onshore wind."

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