16 January 2018

Trade body urges UK government to back ‘lowest cost’ onshore wind

RenewableUK, one of the UK’s leading renewable energy trade associations, has urged the government to support the country’s onshore wind sector.

Since 2015, the Conservative government has imposed a de facto ban on the technology by excluding it from competitive subsidy auctions and creating insurmountable hurdles within the planning process.

Speaking at a Government committee on the cost of energy, RenewableUK's Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said that “It’s important to back the government in taking another look at onshore wind and start running a pot 1 auction. That would deliver onshore wind at under £50 per megawatt hour - cheaper than gas. It's extraordinary that onshore wind isn't allowed to compete”.

She added that “…an energy system led by renewables is the lowest cost option for the UK. I'd bet my house on renewables” and further stating that “a smart energy system can deliver consumers savings of £8bn a year between now and 2030”.

In recent years, renewable energy in the UK has seen significant falls in price, for example offshore wind alone reduced its costs by 50% in the past three years. Large-scale solar power is also cheaper than nuclear power, and it is also projected to be cheaper than gas by 2020. At the same time, renewables have dramatically increased the amount of electricity they supply to the UK; wind and solar alone generated 18% of all electricity in 2017.

The committee asked how consumers can benefit from the low cost of renewable energy. Ms. Pinchbeck added: “New projects have brought investment in regions across the UK - with £18bn more to come over the next 5 years. Those wider industrial benefits should be recognised. 90% of this investment is being spent outside the south-east of England, in areas where it’s needed most to create jobs”

Full video proceedings from the committee can be found here.

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