In parliament: In the blue and yellow corners

15th January 2015


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Renewable

Author

Adam Lawrence

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey warned late last year that, as he puts it, Conservative "ideological" opposition to onshore wind is "undermining new British jobs and driving up customer bills ... because wind is the cheapest clean energy".

You might think to yourself that this looks a bit like the necessary process of differentiation that is enveloping the coalition; Tories don’t like wind much, while Lib Dems do. But it is about much more than that.

Onshore wind is doing particularly well in the UK, with more than 4,500 turbines installed. In the first quarter of 2014, onshore wind generated 2.47 TW hours of electricity – about 2% of overall demand. But there’s a long way to go. Decc’s 2020 projections and pathways for achieving the 15% supply target from renewables show that onshore wind should be producing about four times the electricity that it is likely to have generated in 2014.

That means a lot more turbines. Onshore wind is well placed to compete with the supply price of conventional energy, particularly with gas-generated electricity, by 2020. So we are looking at reduced subsidies. It’s a good position to be in, providing new wind turbines can actually be erected.

And that is where the other half of the government enters, in the shape of communities secretary Eric Pickles, who has taken over decisions on a large number of planning appeals for onshore wind developments. Of the 50 proposals that he has recovered, only two have emerged partly or wholly approved, while 17 went into the bin. More than 30 await his attention.

If something is not done to reign Pickles in, then Davey is right: the development of the cheapest form of clean energy will be in jeopardy. The UK renewable targets will have to be met one way or another by 2020, so the demise of onshore wind means it is likely that less efficient or more expensive means will bridge the gap.


Transform articles

Water companies fail to hit environmental targets

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.

1st July 2021

Read more

Renewable energy will account for nearly 40% of the world's power mix by the end of this decade, overtaking coal within the next few years, according to research by GlobalData.

24th June 2021

Read more

The UK's solar energy capacity must treble over the next decade for the country to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but is only set to double under a business-as-usual scenario.

18th June 2021

Read more

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) has today been launched to support financial institutions and corporates in assessing and managing emerging risks and opportunities as the world looks to reverse biodiversity loss.

4th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert