Government ministers face rising calls to lift their block on onshore wind farms to help meet the UK’s ambitious climate targets while reducing home energy bills. Some of Europe’s largest energy investors have urged the government to overturn an effective ban on new onshore wind farms in England, warning that it may be stifling a flood of investment into the UK’s clean energy sector. Peter Dickson, a partner at Glennmont Partners, which manages Europe’s largest ever clean energy fund, is among those urging the government to change its stance. He said if the UK is “serious” about climate crisis target “policymakers must encourage all forms of renewable power generation.” “This includes revisiting proposals for developing onshore wind in the UK,” he said. A boom in new onshore wind projects could also cut energy bills by £50 a year compared to a high-gas energy mix according to new research commissioned by RenewableUK, the trade body. The calls to back an onshore wind renaissance reignited following prime minister Theresa May’s decision earlier this week to legislate a net zero carbon target for 2050. Under current rules only offshore wind farms can compete for government contracts in subsidy auctions. The analysis undertaken by Vivid Economics shows that growing onshore wind from 13GW today to 35GW by 2035 would reduce the cost of electricity by 7%. Onshore wind is expected to be cheaper than gas-generated electricity because of plummeting turbine technology costs and the rising cost of carbon emissions, according to the report. An onshore wind boom could also treble the number of jobs supported by the sector to 31,000 and boost exports to £360m a year by 2035. Alan Whitehead, the shadow minister for energy and climate change, said: “Onshore wind is a win-win-win. It reduces reliance on imported fuels, reduces energy prices for households and reduces carbon. It is simply economically illiterate not to go for onshore wind in a big way. The government should remove their barriers to onshore wind and engage communities to get it built,” he said.
Guardian 12th June 2019 read more »