Remove barriers to provide more onshore wind farms
An appeal for more onshore wind farms in the UK to help cut greenhouse gases has been backed by a green energy expert.
Ron Fox was commenting after 157 MPs, including 35 Conservatives, wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a change of course in Government policy.
The politicians want energy subsidy schemes to be altered so that onshore wind projects will be able to compete against other renewable projects for contracts to supply electricity to consumers. At present they are excluded.
They also would like to see planning rules in England amended so that small-scale developments of less than five-megawatt capacity, approximately a few turbines, are treated in the same way as any other application for renewable and low-carbon energy projects.
As Boris Johnson has pledged to ensure the UK meets its recently agreed legal target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050, the MPs argue that the onshore industry costs are so low that it could now undercut market prices, save consumers money and help reduce our carbon footprint.
“The problem goes back to 2015 when the Tories fought the election on a promise to halt the spread of subsidised onshore wind farms,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park.
He said there was opposition from the party’s grassroots and backbenchers who were against the turbines’ appearance and cost, particularly since developers received subsidies funded by consumers on their energy bills.
Since then planning policies have been tightened and subsidy schemes closed and installations of onshore wind turbines have fallen by 80 per cent last year to the lowest level since 2011.
There are almost 8,000 wind turbines onshore in Britain, capable of generating up to 13 gigawatts of electricity when all are in action.
The letter, signed by 157 MPs and co-ordinated by campaign groups 10:10 Climate Action and Power for People, demands that barriers to new onshore wind farms, which are effectively being prevented by Government policies, should be removed.
The signatories include Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the former Tory party chairman, and Dame Caroline Spelman, the former environment minister, both of whom signed a letter in 2012 telling the then Prime Minister David Cameron that they were “concerned about the government’s policy of support for onshore wind energy production,” which they called “inefficient and intermittent”.
The letter adds that the cost of the technology has now fallen sharply and that “onshore wind is the cheapest new source of energy in the UK today.”
But they added that operators need guaranteed-price contracts to make projects attractive to invest in.
“This seems a sensible move and a good way for the UK to help meet its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050,” added Ron. “I hope it goes ahead as a matter of urgency.”
For more information about green energy call Ron on 0845 474 6641.