March 31, 2017 / 3:48 PM / 5 months ago

Britain's Ofgem winds up support scheme for new renewable projects

March 31 (Reuters) - Britain's energy regulator Ofgem on Friday closed one of the main support mechanisms for large-scale renewable electricity projects to new developers.

Since it was set up in 2002, the Renewable Obligation scheme helped boost the share of Britain's electricity generated from low-carbon energy to 23.5 percent from 1.3 percent, Ofgem said.

The government has reined in subsidies on renewable energy projects since 2015, including ending support for onshore wind farms. When announcing the cuts, the government said it wanted renewable energy projects to compete on a commercial basis.

However, Ofgem extended another scheme, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), requiring power and gas suppliers to provide energy efficiency measures, such as loft insulation, to vulnerable customers until September 2018.

Britain has some of the most energy inefficient homes in Europe and the measures were aimed to help meet greenhouse gas reduction targets. Several firms, including Centrica and RWE's npower, say ECO is too expensive.

The government is also under pressure to curb rising energy bills with some 2.3 million of Britain's 27 million households deemed fuel poor, meaning the cost of heating their homes leaves them with income below the poverty line.

Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic in Milan; Editing by Edmund Blair

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