Potential Winds of Change For the UK’s Onshore Wind Sector?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The UK Government has relaxed its opposition to the development of subsidised onshore wind projects. The change, which could facilitate developments on ‘remote-islands,’ was outlined in a response to a consultation on Contracts for Difference (CfDs) for Renewable Electricity Generation [1]. This development could signal the beginning of wider policy changes for onshore wind support. Industry will want to act to ensure that momentum is not lost.

Subtle reclassifications could lead to more significant shifts in policy

By differentiating between ‘Remote Island Wind’ and other onshore wind projects, the government will allow island schemes of 5MW and above to compete for CfDs. This could be a significant change. On their return to government in 2015, the Conservatives followed through on their manifesto commitment to end new subsidies for onshore wind projects and change the law so that local people have the final say on applications [2]. However, the Government maintains that it is only the higher transmission costs of island schemes that make them a ‘less-established’ technology worthy of support.

The political pressure to support onshore wind continues to mount

The case for onshore wind grows stronger. A report published by BVG Associates last week claims that building more onshore wind farms could deliver a £1.6 billion benefit to customers [3]. In the same week, Lord Deben, the Chair of the Committee on Climate Change called on the Government to rethink its opposition to onshore wind [4]. Furthermore, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s own polling demonstrated that 76 per cent of the public support onshore wind [5].

With the pressure on government to reduce energy bills and achieve emission targets, onshore wind may increasingly look like an attractive, low cost, low carbon solution.

The onshore industry will want to ensure that this trend continues

Businesses will naturally welcome this development. However, further political activity is required to make the most of this opportunity. The process of implementing this and other policies to enable onshore wind will not be painless. There is still opposition to overcome. The planning system remains favourable to local resistance. Backbenchers in rural constituencies are likely to object. The Government could lose focus as other issues such as Brexit demand more attention. Businesses need to continue to engage and lobby to make sure intentions become reality.


[1] Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Contracts for Difference Scheme for Renewable Electricity Generation, link

[2] Gov.uk, Statement on ending subsidies for onshore wind, link

[3] BVG Associates, The Power of Onshore Wind, link

[4] The Guardian, 10 June 2018, link

[5] Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Energy and Climate Change Attitude Tracker, link

LATEST NEWS

Transport

What Are The Implications Of Coronavirus for Transport Policy?

Some of the most dramatic effects of the Covid-19 outbreak and the response measures it demands have been on modes of transport. Airlines have been grounded, discretionary domestic travel is discouraged and the use of public transport is advised against.[1] Instead, the Government has promoted cycling and walking as a form of safe, socially distanced travel. With the consequences of the virus expected to persist for a ‘long period of time’[2] transport policy is shifting to keep people moving.

Read More »
Torness nuclear power station
Nuclear

Five Notable Developments In Nuclear This Week 17.04.2020

It has been announced that Jacobs, a Dallas headquartered energy consulting, engineering and construction services firm, has been awarded several contracts with an estimated combined value of $25 million. The contracts were awarded by Fusion for Energy (F4E), the ITER Organization and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in order to support leading-edge research in fusion energy.

Read More »
Torness nuclear power station
Nuclear

Five COVID-19 Developments In Nuclear 02.04.2020

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, EDF Energy has introduced a series of measures to ensure its employees are protected against the virus. Not only has it significantly reduced activity on its Hinkley Point C site from 4,000 to 2,000 workers, but it has also instituted extra cleaning, working from home, banning visitors, temperature checks, and bringing in more buses to allow workers to stay apart.

Read More »
  • Request A Free Consultation

    Get in touch to arrange your free consultation call.