UK onshore wind fleet could reach 30GW by 2030

The UK’s onshore wind fleet could more than double to 30GW by 2030 if projects are consented in a timely manner and with the right planning framework in place, according to new analysis.

The UK currently has about 13.6GW of operating onshore wind capacity (pic credit: Scottish Power)

Industry body RenewableUK found that the UK could have 30GW of onshore wind capacity by 2030 if projects are consented in a timely manner and with the right planning framework in place

If all projects in the current pipeline are built, the UK could have 30.3GW of operational offshore wind capacity by the end of 2029, up from 13.6GW currently, according to industry body RenewableUK.

This pipeline includes all UK onshore wind farms that are operational, under construction, consented, submitted into the permitting system or being developed for submission into permitting.

The increase in capacity would take place as technology costs fall and as onshore wind is re-admitted to the UK’s contract for differences (CfD) auction regime, RenewableUK stated.

The industry body’s head of policy and regulation, Rebecca Williams, said: “Next year’s auction for new clean energy contracts is a crucial step in unlocking the new jobs and investment that onshore wind can deliver as part of the green recovery. 

“Our latest forecast shows what’s possible, but we need the right policy levers and regulation in place to make it happen.” 

RenewableUK added that the most significant build-out of this pipeline would come after 2025 – four years after onshore wind will compete in the CfD tender for the first time since 2015.

Previous research has suggested that about 4GW of onshore wind projects could compete in the tender next year.

Government advisory body the Climate Change Committee has recommended that the UK should install 35GW of onshore wind by 2035, at a rate of at least 1GW per year.

RenewableUK added that this is achievable with timely consenting of projects and a supportive policy framework in place.

Such a policy framework could allow for permitting authorities to allow taller, more efficient turbines, for example.

RenewableUK added that an additional 1.2GW could come from repowering projects. To date, repowering only accounts for 231MW of uK onshore wind capacity.