A new deal between the UK Government and the wind industry sets out to ensure that 30% of the country’s electricity will come from wind power by 2030 – but will it be enough and why does it only cover offshore? In March, the government announced a deal with the wind industry that will ensure 30% of the UK’s electricity comes from offshore wind by 2030, part of its commitment to generating the majority of power from low-carbon sources – offshore wind, nuclear, and gas power stations – by that same year. On the whole, environmentalists welcomed the pledge to expand renewable generation – offshore wind is set to account for more than 10% of the UK’s power needs by 2020, up from just 6.2% in 2017 – which they say is a crucial for the UK’s ambitions to achieve a net zero target by 2050. However, some have queried why onshore wind – according to RenewableUK, the cheapest source of new power for UK billpayers and one that is supported by more than three-quarters of the public – has largely been left out of the equation. Particularly at a time when plans to expand nuclear are in doubt, with the UK at risk of ending up with just one new nuclear station, Hinkley Point C, instead of the planned six. “The short answer is politics,” says Professor Jim Watson, director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC). “The Conservative Party had a manifesto commitment to withdraw support from onshore wind. That has meant that the financial incentives available to other technologies have not been available to onshore wind since 2017. Although onshore wind costs are low, developers still need the certainty of a long-term contract in order to reduce risks sufficiently.
Power Technology 17th June 2019 read more »