The wind power industry could be set to lose thousands of jobs in both the industrial and construction sectors after the government announced that it would end subsidies to the industry a year earlier than expected.
The industry trade association for the renewable energy sector Renewable UK has warned that thousands of job losses could result after the governments decision to bring the subsidy to an end in April 2016, rather than a year later.
Energy secretary Amber Rudd announced on Thursday that the subsidies would end earlier than initially expected, saying that the high volume of onshore wind meant that the government were well on the way to achieving climate targets.
But Renewable UK has warned that the decision would result in thousands of job losses.
“The Government’s decision to end prematurely financial support for onshore wind sends a chilling signal not just to the renewable energy industry, but to all investors right across the UK’s infrastructure sectors,” said Maria McCaffery, chief executive of Renewable UK.
“It means this Government is quite prepared to pull the rug from under the feet of investors when this country needs to clean up the way we generate electricity at the lowest possible cost – which is onshore wind.”
She added that the trade association was calling on the energy secretary to hold immediate talks with the industry so that more could be done to mitigate the effects of the cuts..
“We note that the Government is allowing some flexibility – so-called ‘grace periods’ – to allow projects where significant investment commitments have already been made in good faith to proceed as planned, but this still means that many much-needed projects will be lost unless the cut-off points for financial support are reviewed and extended”.
Rudd said on Thursday that by removing the subsidies, the government was sending a clear message to the industry that it must be able to “stand on its own two feet.”
Image: Mark Seymour via Flickr