UK onshore wind capacity build lowest for the second year in a row

Ilaria Grasso Macola 15 January 2020 (Last Updated January 15th, 2020 16:31)

Energy trade association RenewableUK has expressed concern that not enough onshore wind capacity is being built to meet the UK’s zero-emission goal by 2050.

UK onshore wind capacity build lowest for the second year in a row
Scout Moor Wind Farm. Credit: Stephen Gidley.

Energy trade association RenewableUK has expressed concern that not enough onshore wind capacity is being built to meet the UK’s zero-emission goal by 2050.

It published a report yesterday showing that the onshore wind capacity built in 2019 was the lowest in a decade, with only 23 operational projects installed.

Report data shows that the trend began in 2018 when 91 projects and 651MW were installed, compared with a record 2,683MW in 2017. According to RenewableUK, this decline in production is due to a change in government policy that no longer supports the development of the onshore wind industry.

RenewableUK head of policy and Regulation Rebecca Williams said: “These figures highlight that the current approach is falling short on delivering renewable energy capacity at the level needed for net-zero.”

“This is a flashing red warning light on our net-zero dashboard and we urgently need a new strategy from government.”

In the last five years, financial support schemes for industries like the Renewable Obligations (RO) scheme, the Contract for Difference (CfD) and the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme were gradually shut down.

“Onshore wind is one of the cheapest low carbon technologies in the UK; quick to build, and it’s hugely popular – as the Government’s own opinion polls show 78% of people support it,” said Williams.

“As ministers get down to work at the start of a new decade, we need to see new policies which support the full range of clean power sources to transform our energy system.”

According to the Committee on Climate Change, an independent body advising the Government on emission targets, the UK could increase its onshore wind capacity by three times, from 13GW now to 35GW by 2035, saving households £50 a year and reducing by 7% the cost of energy.

A Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokersperson said: “Onshore wind has been deployed successfully in the UK, powering over 10 million homes and producing over 10% of the country’s electricity. It can continue to be deployed where it has local support.”

“We’ve also provided more support for offshore wind than any other country in the world, helping us to reach record levels of renewable energy generation in 2019.”