The Government's main instrument for supporting renewables in England and Wales is the Renewables Obligation (RO), in Scotland it is the RO Scotland (ROS) and in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland RO (NIRO).
The RO (ROS and NIRO) is a market-based support mechanism that requires licensed electricity suppliers to provide a specified and growing proportion of their electricity from eligible renewable sources. Wind farms are one of the technologies supported under the RO. This provides an assured market for renewable electricity and ensures that it attracts a premium.
The full details for the past five years RO support to wind energy by UK country could be calculated but at a disproportionate cost. However details for the past two years have been calculated. The figures used for this calculation are based on the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets' (Ofgem) calculation of a Renewable Obligation Certificate's worth to a supplier (the buy-out price avoided plus the recycled buy-out fund amount).
Onshore Offshore 2004-05 2005-06 2004-05 2005-06 England and Wales 35.7 42.6 12.5 20.7 Scotland 48.4 57.0 — — Northern Ireland — 10.8 — — Total 84.1 11 0.4 12.5 20.7
England and Wales
Aside from the RO, to date, the Government have committed £107 million in grant support towards the capital installation of offshore wind farm development. These offshore wind farms are all based off the coast of England.
Additional support for onshore wind has in the recent past been given under the clear skies scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The total for these projects was:
England Wales Northern Ireland 2003 305,870 12,500 69,986 2004 343,245 8,818 139,654 2005 610,035 83,959 308,474 2006 95,700 5,000 30,000 1 Scheme launch
1 Scheme launch
In Scotland, the Scottish Executive provide funding for the Scottish Community and Householder Renewables Initiative (SCHRI) which was launched in 2002. Under this scheme, grants are awarded to eligible householders or not-for-profit community groups for the installation of renewable technologies including micro-wind turbines. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of grant commitments by year. However, as of January 2007, SCHRI capital grants with a total value of £1.7 million have been allocated to 152 projects where wind is one of up to two technologies installed with the grant.