United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK government urged to back onshore wind

A coalition of developers, trade bodies, investors and supply chain companies has written to the new UK energy minister pleading for support in developing new onshore wind capacity.

The UK currently has just over 13.2GW of onshore wind capacity (pic: EDF Renewables)
The UK currently has just over 13.2GW of onshore wind capacity (pic: EDF Renewables)

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The signatories called for minister Kwasi Kwarteng to allow onshore wind to compete in the UK’s contract for difference (CfD) auctions, update planning rules to enable the latest turbines, and set out guidance for replacing older turbines.

Kwarteng was appointed in mid-July, following the government reshuffle caused by the appointment of Boris Johnson as the new prime minister. 

The letter comes after the government's climate change advisory body urged it to prioritise a route to market for onshore and solar PV in a bid to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The government decided to end the UK’s Renewables Obligation support scheme early in 2015, and then barred onshore wind projects from the UK’s second CfD auction -- the replacement support scheme.

The signatories highlighted a recent report by management consultants Vivid Economics that claimed, as the "lowest-cost source of new power generation", further deployment of onshore wind could reduce annual household bills by 7% by 2035, create 31,000 jobs and deliver £360 million (€393 million) a year in exports.

The chief adviser on renewable energy and climate change at the National Farmers’ Union added farmers could diversify their businesses with on-site wind power generation.

And the executive director of communication, government and policy at manufacturers’ union Make UK argued onshore wind could lower energy prices for manufacturers and help make them more competitive.

Trade body RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said: "There are shovel-ready onshore projects across the UK that would bring in billions of pounds of investment, support thousands of jobs and even cut consumer bills.

"Onshore wind is the cheapest option for new power in the UK and it is essential if we want to achieve net zero emissions.

"We hope the new government will take swift action to let onshore wind compete on a level playing field."

RenewableUK previously claimed an unofficial tip height restriction prevents the industry from using the latest, more cost-efficient turbines, while the planning process for repowering remains lacking.

Signatories included developers ScottishPower Renewables, EDF Renewables, Innogy, SSE Renewables, RES Group, Vattenfall and Statkraft, tower provider CS Wind and turbine manufacturers Siemens Gamesa and Vestas.

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