UK govt sets out grace period criteria for onshore wind subsidies
Wind turbines in UK. Author: Stephen Jones. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic
The UK government on Thursday set out the Renewables Obligation (RO) grace period criteria for onshore wind, giving eligible projects that have struggled to secure finance a grace period up to December 31, 2017.
The criteria were outlined in amendments to the Energy Bill, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said in a statement, while confirming it was pushing ahead with plans to end onshore wind subsidies by closing the RO from April 1, 2016. A grace period of one year was announced for eligible projects previously, while now developers will have up to an additional nine months to complete their projects if they meet all the criteria and demonstrate they have "struggled to secure finance from lenders" since June 18.
DECC estimates that around 2.9 GW of onshore wind capacity would be able to take advantage of the grace period and still expects that 12.3 GW of onshore wind capacity could be deployed by 2020, which would ensure that the country's renewable targets are met.
"By bringing forward these amendments we are protecting bill payers whilst meeting our renewable energy commitments," said energy minister Lord Bourne.
Eligible projects for the grace period should demonstrate that they had planning consent as at June 18, when the change was announced. As an alternative, projects that have successfully appealed a planning refusal made on or before June 18; or projects that have successfully appealed after not receiving a planning decision due by 18 June, will also be allowed to take advantage of the grace period. All will also be required to show that they had a grid connection and land rights in place.