Here’s a recent summary of UK renewable energy subsidies c/0 regensw.

The recent wave of announcements of cuts to renewable energy support have been justified on the basis of cutting costs.

The Office of Budget Responsibility has calculated the cost of supporting low carbon power by 2020/21 has risen from a budget of £7.6 billion to £9.1 billion.  So what are the facts about our spend on renewables, impact on energy bills and how this compares with other sources of energy?


  • In 2014 renewable subsidies were responsible for £45 of the average £1,369 in 2014 family dual fuel bill (£36 ROCs and £9 FIT). More detail here.
  • The current proposals to cut and cap spending on the FIT are predicted to reduce household bills by £6 in 2020/21. More detail here.
  • The Committee on Climate Change recently concluded “the annual energy bill increased by 75 per cent in nominal terms from £650 in 2004 to £1,140 in 2013 for the typical dual-fuel household. Of the £490 increase, around 80 per cent was associated with rising costs of wholesale energy and system costs and therefore unrelated to low carbon policy.” More detail here.


  • Globally, according to the International Monetary Fund, the fossil fuel sector receives subsidies of $5.3 trillion a year, more than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. Read more.
  • George Osborne, announcing tax breaks for shale gas in 2013, committed the government to making the tax regime “the most generous for shale in the world.” Read more.
  • The annual government grant to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is £2.09 billion. Divide that by 26.3 million households and you find that the average cost of dealing with nuclear waste is £79 per household. Read more

The government is offering:

  1. £92.50 per MWh to EDF as a guaranteed price for power generated by Hinkley C new nuclear power station for 35 years. Read more.
  2. £80 per MWh as a guaranteed price to large wind and solar projects for 15 years (following an auction this year). Read more
  3. £16.3 per MWh as a subsidy to households installing solar PV panels (households can also sell power at a set price of £48.50 per MWh).Read more.


  • The UK’s low carbon energy sector has delivered £42 billion worth of new investment over the past four years and is expected to deliver a further £100 billion by 2020. The sector now employs an estimated 112,000 people. Read more.
  • Investment in renewable energy in the UK is equivalent to the total growth in private sector investment over the last four years. Read more.


We agree with the way the report ends:

“We all know we need to invest in the future of our energy supplies.  The question is where to place that investment.  That debate needs an honest assessment of the costs and benefits of different types of energy.”


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