The number of planning applications for renewable energy projects in the UK last month slumped to the lowest level in five years, ClickGreen can reveal.
According to official figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, there were only 21 new submissions last month, a 78% drop on the 95 applications lodged a year before in June 2014.
The estimated capacity if all 21 applications are successful is just 185MW – including the 56MW proposed extension of the Gordonbush onshore wind farm in the Scottish Highlands, which operator SSE is now likely to withdraw following the Government retreat on subsidy support for onshore wind energy.
Analysis of the DECC renewable energy planning database shows the UK’s pipeline of planned renewable energy capacity fell year-on-year by over 1,750MW as the 95 applications submitted in June 2014 represented a combined capacity of 1,951MW.
The downward curve of proposed green energy projects now jeopardises the UK’s legally binding target of achieving 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.
As the pipeline for green energy projects dries up at an alarming rate, campaigners are accusing the Government of slamming a wrecking ball into a key industry sector of the future that is fast losing its attractiveness on the global investment stage.
Ministers are currently looking at steering green subsidies for renewable energy towards the research and development of other low carbon technologies, including shale gas.
DECC is expected to announce tomorrow morning further cuts to the financial support it provides to the solar power industry following the planned withdrawal of cash backing for the onshore wind industry.
In a written answer to Parliament, Minister Andrea Leadsom confirmed the current Spending Review is looking at redirecting renewable energy subsidies towards other sources of low carbon energy, which includes fracking and nuclear power.
In a further blow to the nation’s renewables sector, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd this morning indicated to MPs that the onshore wind industry would not be eligible to access payments through the Contracts for Difference (CfD) programme.