The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed that it will be closing the renewable obligation to onshore windfarms from 1 April 2016, one year early.

The government is claiming that it is ending support for onshore wind because there is now “enough subsidised projects in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments”.

Although RO support will end on 1 April 2016, the government claims that as much as 5.2GW of onshore wind capacity could be eligible for its proposed grace period – offering projects with planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance and evidence of land rights extra time to complete their projects and receive RO support.

The controversial move follows the government’s decision to give local communities the final say over onshore windfarm planning applications.

Speaking to BBC 5 Live, Amber Rudd defended the decision, saying that onshore wind deployment had been “more successful than people anticipated”. She continued: “We think now is the time to draw the line. We think by 2020 onshore wind will be responsible for around 10% of our energy generation.”

Responding to criticism from green lobbyists, Rudd said: “This proposal has been on the table for quite a long time. It was in our manifesto, I don’t think it can come as a huge surprise to the industry.”

The Scottish government described the decision as “deeply regrettable”, saying that it could launch a Judicial Review over the move.

Maria McCaffery, chief executive at trade body RenewableUK described the decision as a “chilling signal not just to the renewable energy industry, but to all investors right across the UK’s infrastructure sectors”.

She continued: “People’s fuel bills will increase directly as a result of this government’s actions. If government was really serious about ending subsidy it should be working with industry to help us bring costs down, not slamming the door on the lowest cost option.

The government previously scrapped RO support for solar farms over 5MW two years early, removing subsidies on 1 April 2015.  

Solar Power Portal will update this story with more details as it develops