UK pushed to support onshore wind by major renewable firms

The UK government has been urged to help onshore wind farms in order to meet the country’s net-zero target by numerous companies involved in renewables.

Several companies active in renewables, including Vestas and Siemens Gamesa, and industry groups have written to the UK government calling for support for new onshore wind farms to help the country meet its net zero emissions target.

Industry groups and businesses, including Vestas and Siemens Gamesa, as well as onshore wind developers, trade bodies, investors and supply chain companies, have called for a new onshore wind strategy to achieve the decarbonisation of power in Britain in a letter to the new energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng.

The other signatories are RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables, ScottishPower Renewables, RES Group, Vattenfall, Statkraft, EDF Renewables UK, Innogy, SSE Renewables, CS Wind, AE Yates, Farrans, Ainscough Crane Hire, REG Power Management, Powersystems UK and Athena PTS.

The letter highlights the role that cheap onshore wind power can play in meeting the government’s net zero target at lowest cost to consumer.

It states that the government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has recommended onshore wind be allowed to compete in government-backed auctions for contracts for difference.

The letter urges the government to update planning rules so that the most modern and efficient turbines can be used at suitable high-wind locations in the UK, as well as setting out guidance to support the replacement of older turbines.

The signatories also noted the widespread public support for new wind farms, reminding the Energy Minister of the government’s own Public Attitudes Tracker which shows 79% support for onshore wind.

Furthermore, the letter emphasises recent polling by the Conservative Environment Network that found support for onshore wind among Conservative voters stands at 74%, while over half the electorate look unfavourably on political parties who support a ban on the technology.

Other backers of a new approach to support onshore wind also includes trade union Prospect, the National Farmers’ Union, the RSPB, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the manufacturer’s organisation Make UK (formerly EEF), the National Infrastructure Commission, the Aldersgate Group and the environmental campaign group 10:10 Climate Action.

RenewableUK chief executive Hugh McNeal believes that it is positive to see such a wide range of companies and organisations speaking with one voice in strong support of onshore wind.

“There are shovel-ready onshore projects across the UK that would bring in billions of pounds of investment, support thousands of jobs and even cut consumer bills," he said.

“Onshore wind is the cheapest option for new power in the UK and it is essential if we want to achieve net zero emissions. We hope the new government will take swift action to let onshore wind compete on a level playing field."

National Infrastructure Commission chief executive Phil Graham claims that meeting the country's Net Zero target means creating a highly renewable and flexible energy system for the UK.

"We must prioritise the renewable technologies that can do that: onshore wind, plus offshore and solar generation. A diverse mix of renewable technologies can play a central role in ensuring our future energy network can meet growing demand and cope with the challenges of intermittent generation and extreme weather," he said.

“It’s important therefore that onshore wind generation should benefit from a route to market through contracts for difference, as offshore generation already does.”

CBI senior policy adviser on energy and climate change Tanisha Beebee added: “The CBI is eager to see the development and progression of renewable energy technologies, with associated economic, environmental and industrial benefits across the UK, and this begins with further harnessing the UK’s potential for the cheapest new-build energy technology – onshore wind.”

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