News Release from RenewableUK


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RenewableUK calls for onshore wind planning reforms to support bill payers

RenewableUK is calling for the UK and devolved Governments to boost our onshore wind capacity as a key part of our nation’s strategy to cut our dependence on gas and move to low-cost, home-grown energy sources. The UK can more than double its total onshore wind capacity from 14 gigawatts now to 30GW by 2030 and this would add £45bn to the economy and support 27,000 jobs.

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

The current planning system in England blocks nearly all development of new onshore wind projects, so the trade association welcomes any move which would enables communities which support onshore wind farms to approve them.

We are also urging the Scottish Government to continue to make progress on its new Onshore Wind Policy Statement and planning reforms as a matter of urgency, given the significantly higher wind resource in the country, where it is expected the majority of the UK’s new onshore wind projects will be located.

Commenting on potential changes to the planning system, RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail said:

“The risks of remaining dependent on gas for our energy needs are now painfully obvious to bill payers across the UK, but thankfully renewables offer a cheap and rapid escape route.  We can’t hope to reduce our dependence on gas while also holding back the quickest and cheapest source of domestic power, which is onshore wind.”

“It’s right that across the UK, we should look again at the planning system to make it fit for purpose, so that it doesn’t stand in the way of communities embracing onshore wind or leave applications delayed for years. In England there are some simple changes which the Government can make to planning guidance to allow more renewable energy projects to be built in England with the support of local communities. Under the current system, just one person can block an onshore wind project from going ahead.

“As they have huge wind resources, Scotland and Northern Ireland will play a leading role in our transition from gas to low-cost wind energy in the UK and it’s vital that their planning reviews which are already underway effectively tackle the bottlenecks we’re seeing in the system.”

Industry anticipates that most development between now and to 2030 will take place in Scotland, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, where wind speeds are highest. The Government’s renewables support scheme, Contracts for Difference, is a competitive process which means that developers will seek to place turbines in the windiest locations, where they are most productive.

The Scottish Government is expected to set a target of up to 12GW of new onshore wind to meet its climate change targets (8.6GW is already operational in Scotland). The Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive each have their own renewables targets, driving growth of 2.2GW and 1.1GW respectively (Wales already has 1.25GW operational and Northern Ireland 1.3GW). Before any revisions to planning rules take place in England, the industry is predicting growth of just 0.7GW between now and 2030 (from 2.9GW to 3.6GW).

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RenewableUK, Government, onshore, planning, UK, boost, capacity, dependence, low cost, home grown, sources, gigawatts, jobs, econony

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