HL Deb 19 May 2004 vol 661 cc91-2WA
Lord Willougby de Broke

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the total public subsidy given to (a) onshore; and (b) offshore wind farms; and what is the cost of the subsidy per megawatt. [HL2814]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville)

Direct subsidies for renewables have only occurred in the form of capital grants. These have been awarded only for offshore windfarm sites—a total of £117 million for the 12 Round 1 offshore sites, amounting to approximately £7 million to £8 million for each MW of capacity.

The other forms of support come from the renewables obligation, our main renewables support mechanism, and the climate change levy, a tax on commercial energy use from which renewable energy is exempt. However, these are not direct subsidies but effectively allow the supply companies to pass the costs of compliance on to consumers. Support is provided for each MWh of renewable energy that is generated and the costs to consumers are roughly £30/MWh under the renewables obligation and £4.3/MW h under the climate change levy. However, this is only an approximation, as supply companies do not necessarily pass all of these costs through to their customers.

Due to this, it is difficult to quantify the total level of support for wind energy from these mechanisms. However, assuming all renewable energy generated from wind since the start of the renewables obligation (April 2002) up to December 2003 received support under both the renewables obligation and the climate change levy, the total level of support would be, very approximately, £65 million for onshore wind and less than £0.5 million for offshore wind.