UK infrastructure report urges onshore support

UK: Onshore wind should be readmitted back into the contract for difference (CfD) auction scheme from the early 2020s, a new report looking at UK infrastructure has argued.

EDF Renewable's Barmoor wind farm in the north-east of England

This would see it compete against offshore wind and solar PV for the £557 million (€630 million) remaining in the government’s established technologies pot.

However, planning restrictions in England stipulating the need for local communities’ backing would still be in place, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) warned, threatening onshore wind deployment.

The NIC also called for half of the UK’s electricity to be generated by renewables by 2030, up from the current 30% target.

This interim target should provide the necessary momentum towards a renewable supply of between 70% and 80% by mid-century, the NIC suggested.

It also recommended building just one new nuclear power station before 2025, following the construction of Hinkley Point C.

The commission was set up in 2015 to provide independent advice to the government on the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs up to 2050.

It has now published its first full assessment on the country’s future energy mix, the future of electric vehicles, future proofing for drought, flooding and the UK’s plastic recycling ambitions.

Although the government does not need to implement the commission’s recommendations, it must respond to them within six months.


The government announced plans to end the previous Renewables Obligation support scheme in 2015, and barred onshore wind projects from the UK’s second CfD auction.

However, onshore wind farms on the remote islands off the UK mainland have since been readmitted, and  energy minister Claire Perry confirmed the government is considering allowing onshore projects in Scotland and Wales to bid in future auctions.

Following the release of the NIC’s report, trade association RenewableUK called for the government to end the ban on onshore wind.

Executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: "Cheap renewables offer the best deal for consumers.

"Government has a great opportunity to give bill payers a break by putting renewable energy at the heart of a modern smart energy system.

"Instead of that it’s inexplicably blocking new onshore wind projects. Why? That’s the question that MPs will have top explain to their hard-pressed constituents.

"Minsters should be listening to what people actually think and the government’s own polling shows that 76% of people support onshore wind."

A version of this story first appeared ENDS Report.