Energy giants call on UK government to lift onshore wind restrictions

6th August 2019

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Charles Haine

Lifting restrictions on new onshore wind farms would be the cheapest energy-related method of achieving net zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2050, a coalition of leading companies has claimed.

In a letter to new energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, the group called for onshore wind to be allowed to compete in government-backed auctions for contracts to generate power.

EDF Renewables and the RES Group are among the signatories, with the letter also garnering support from the Confederation of British industry (CBI) and various other organisations and unions.

This comes after the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) last month estimated that lifting the restriction on onshore wind would allow 35GW to be deployed by 2035.

While separate analysis by Vivid Economics found that onshore wind is now the cheapest source of new power generation, and that further deployment could cut energy bills by 7% and support 31,000 jobs.

CBI senior policy adviser, Tanisha Beebee, said: “The CBI is eager to see the development and progression of renewable energy technologies, with associated economic, environmental and industrial benefits across the UK, and this begins with further harnessing the UK's potential for the cheapest new-build energy technology – onshore wind.

The letter also highlights widespread public support for new wind farms, with the government's own Public Attitudes Tracker showing that 79% of people back onshore wind.

And recent polling by the Conservative Environment Network found that support for onshore wind among Conservative voters stands at a significant 74%.

The letter also urges the government to update planning rules so that the most modern and efficient turbines can be used at suitable high-wind locations, and to set out guidance to support the replacement of older turbines.

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, RenewableUK chief executive, Hugh McNeal, said.

“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.“

Image credit: ©Shutterstock


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