Ministers are preparing to scrap all subsidies for onshore wind farms by 2020 in a major victory for campaigners against the controversial energy source.
David Cameron and George Osborne are to come down firmly on the side of those who object to payments currently worth £400 million a year to companies who produce onshore wind, The Sunday Telegraphhas learned.
Despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats, who strongly support more renewable energy, the subsidy regime for onshore wind and solar panels is now firmly expected to be phased out by the end of the decade.
A senior Conservative source said: “This is now very much the direction of travel.”
At present, householders pay for subsidies to renewable energy producers through an extra charge on household electricity bills.
An email sent by Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office minister, makes it clear that financial support both for onshore wind and solar panels is expected to have “disappeared” within eight years.
Within weeks, Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, will announce details of subsidies for renewable energy covering the period 2013-2017, following a consultation on whether they should be cut by more than the 10 per cent reductions already planned.
Mr Osborne is understood to be pressing Mr Davey for onshore subsidy cuts of around 25 per cent for that period.
However, the words from Mr Letwin, who is a key Conservative policy guru, go much further in strongly suggesting the entire subsidy regime will be history by 2020.
Sent last week to Terry Stewart, president of the Dorset branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), Mr Letwin’s email states: “I anticipate that subsidies for both solar photovoltaic and onshore wind will come down to zero over the next few years and should have disappeared by 2020, since both of these forms of energy are gradually becoming economic without the need for subsidies.”
The news will delight local groups fighting new turbine developments and more than 100 Tory MPs who wrote in protest to David Cameron earlier this year.
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