Losers and winners in East Anglia of strike price agreement

Wind turbines

Wind turbines - Credit: PA

Onshore wind and solar projects have been dealt a blow with the news subsidies will be cut – but industry leaders hailed a 'strike price' announcement as the end to uncertainty and a potential boost to offshore windfarm investment in East Anglia.

The government unveiled its 'strike price' – the sum it will guarantee green power developers by paying the difference between wholesale power price – as part of an Infrastructure Plan, which the government claims will see billions of pounds of investment across sectors, including energy.

The 'strike price' for onshore wind and solar has been reduced by £5 per megawatt-hour from 2015 onwards, while offshore wind will get £5 more than under the provisional subsidy figures announced in June.

But the government was accused of bowing to UKIP and senior Conservative opponents of onshore wind with the move.

Bodham Parish Council Callum Ringer, who has been a vocal supporter of the controversial wind turbine project in his village, said the move was 'clearly an appeasement of UKIP'.

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He said: 'Onshore wind and solar is something people can do.

'People can put them on their homes. It is an opportunity for normal people to get involved and make a bit of money out of it. You cannot see farmers going off to build an offshore windfarm.'

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He added that time would tell if the cut to the onshore subsidy would have an impact on the number of people deciding to do green projects.

UKIP county councillor Toby Coke said he was opposed to all wind energy because of its 'astronomical' costs, citing energy such as nuclear and coal fired power stations as much more effective.

Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury insisted onshore windfarms would continue to play 'a big role', and denied that reducing subsidies was a response to Tory opposition, saying state help for onshore wind and solar was being reduced 'slightly' in favour of offshore wind.

Andy Wood, chairman of New Anglia LEP said: 'This is excellent news. Along with the building of the East Anglia Array windfarms just off the coast of Suffolk and Norfolk, and the close proximity of the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone, this is a great opportunity for businesses in the region.

'It will create confidence amongst investors with an interest in renewable energy, who will now be able to identify costs and returns until the end of this decade.

'It will also prove to be a real catalyst for growth.'

Eunice Edwards, the Enterprise Zone Co-ordinator, said: 'Being based in the Enterprise Zone could create even greater opportunities to businesses benefitting from the strike price.'

In June the government announced tough new rules will help residents thwart construction – a move some warn could spell the end for onshore wind turbines.

What do you think of the government plans? Write to the EDP Letters editor giving your full contact details to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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