United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Low approval rate stifles UK pipeline

UK: The amount of onshore wind-power capacity being approved in 2010/11 was the lowest in four years, according to RenewableUK's latest status report on the state of the sector, released today at the industry's annual event in Manchester.

The prospects for UK offshore wind are good, according to RenewableUK
The prospects for UK offshore wind are good, according to RenewableUK

Total deployment in 2011 looks set to hit the 1.5GW forecast the association made this time last year, the report said. But capacity awaiting approval in the period July 2010 to June 2011 continued on a downward trend to 9,084MW.

Approval rates in England were substantially lower than in other parts of the UK, with an average approval rate of 26% by capacity. In 2006/07, 42% of capacity was approved. Approval rates in Scotland saw the steepest fall in consented capacity, with 39% approved in 2010/11 compared with 58% in 2008/09. Northern Ireland bucked the trend with a rise in approvals: seven out of eight schemes were consented in the year up to July 2011. In Wales, a significant slowdown in decision-making meant that only two projects were determined in 2010/11, with 28MW approved.

A survey of developers commissioned by RenewableUK revealed that the average time span from approval to build rose from 24 months to 33 months in 2010/11. This was due to doubts about the commercial viability of projects combined with radar and grid issues.

The prospects for offshore wind development are good, according to the report, but the industry needs a large enough market to drive competition and innovation.

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