Onshore wind power is now the cheapest form of electricity generation that can be built in the UK. However, once the current project pipeline is dry, there are few plans to build any more onshore wind farms owing to lack of government support. For a government whose declared intention is to have the lowest energy costs in Europe, this is somewhat contradictory – especially as the UK has the best wind resource of any European country, and especially given big public support for wind power.
It would also appear to be at odds with the Clean Growth Strategy, in which Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark wrote about a low-carbon growth pathway delivering “lower energy bills for households and businesses”, and in which the government acknowledged that new policies are needed to ensure the UK meets national legally-binding targets for 2025 and 2030 (the fourth and fifth carbon budgets).
In this report, ECIU highlights reasons why the government might like to review the de facto ban on onshore wind power. Given that building onshore wind costs no more than not building it, we suggest establishing a mechanism to run in parallel with the existing support stream for offshore wind, biomass and nuclear - a mechanism that would offer fixed price contracts to onshore wind projects provided they do not need a subsidy, receive the support of local communities, and do not cause significant wildlife or landscape impacts.
To download the report, click here.