Renewables companies across the UK are welcoming newly laid out government commitments to removing blocks to onshore wind development in England.
Renewables UK revealed that the government will “bring onshore wind planning policy in line with other infrastructure to allow it to be deployed more easily”.
Andy Skipton-Carter, Commercial Lead for Consulting at Dulas, one of the UK’s biggest installers of onshore wind, said that this is “excellent news for the industry. Onshore wind is one of the UK’s cheapest sources of power. Removing the effective block on onshore wind in England will enable the potential of the technology to be realized, to reduce our energy bills, and to improve energy security.”
Killing the project killers
The government’s new ‘Growth Plan’ also stipulates that the government will streamline the planning process for offshore wind projects. As it stands, the decision-making process can take up to four years which adds considerable drag and expense to any project.
Since 2015, the price of offshore wind has fallen by around 70%. This makes this method of creating energy the most competitive in the country and a great fit for large-scale power supply.
By supporting on and offshore wind, the UK will take meaningful steps to become more self-sufficient – something that is more necessary than ever given the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on the cost of fossil fuel energy prices.
The time is right and the public agrees.
Brits back renewables
A new survey conducted by Survation on behalf of RenewableUK, shows overwhelming public support for building new wind and solar farms to tackle the cost of the energy crisis. The data also shows that the current ruling party, the Conservatives, risk losing voters if they fail to support renewables.
Two-thirds of people throughout the UK think the new government should use new wind and solar farms to reduce electricity bills, and the same amount of people support building renewable energy projects in their local area.
Each renewable technology enjoys very high levels of public support, with 81% in favor of solar energy, 76% of people backing offshore wind, 74% in favor of onshore wind and 72% backing tidal and wave power.
All of the above demonstrates that the Government’s actions to speed development along will be positively received across the country.
Unlocking enormous amounts of capacity
RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail said: “Removing the block on onshore wind in England means we can generate significantly more cheap electricity for hard-pressed bill-payers in areas where projects have local support. Once projects have planning permission they can be up and running within a year, so this technology offers us a great opportunity to tackle the cost of energy crisis.
“Speeding up the planning process for offshore wind is vital too, as it will allow us to unlock an enormous amount of new capacity much faster and help us to meet the Government’s target of quadrupling our offshore wind capacity by 2030. It will also help us to meet the Prime Minister’s vision of the UK becoming a net energy exporter by 2040. At the moment it can take up to ten years to get a project over all the hurdles. We can’t afford these glacial timescales any longer, especially as offshore wind has now reached a point where it’s even cheaper to build than onshore wind.
“It’s also vital that we speed up grid connections, as some offshore wind farms are being given connection dates which are 10 years into the future. Alongside the changes announced today, we’re urging Ofgem and National Grid to accelerate grid reform, as one of the most important steps towards decarbonising our power system in the years ahead.
“Overall, the Government’s Growth Plan could be a game-changer in speeding up the transition to low-cost renewable power. Companies plan to invest up to £175bn in UK wind energy this decade, boosting growth and energy security”.