New onshore wind farms could slash energy bills by £50
Lifting restrictions on new onshore wind projects in the UK would cut household energy bills by £50 a year by 2035, data from RenewableUK has revealed today.
The figures show that new onshore wind farms would slash electricity prices by 7% and nearly triple employment to 31,000 jobs supported by the sector if 35 GW was deployed.
But an exclusion from government-backed contracts is holding the industry back, while strict rules for onshore turbines have led to a significant fall in planning applications since 2015.
This comes just one day after outgoing prime minister Theresa May announced that the UK would set a legally binding target to eradicate its net carbon emissions by 2050.
"People are demanding immediate action on climate change. They also want lower electricity bills in the decades ahead, and skilled jobs," RenewableUK deputy chief executive, Emma Pinchbeck, said.
"Onshore wind is treated as the Cinderella of energy policy by government, but in reality, it should be their fairy godmother – one of the few technologies that can grant all of these wishes."
The researchers also said that barriers to new onshore wind projects have created uncertainty in the pipeline, reducing investment in the UK-based supply chain.
However, they forecast that the UK supply chain could capture £360m of the global onshore wind market by 2035, up from the £52m of onshore wind goods and services exported in 2017.
RenewableUK estimates that new onshore wind capacity represents an investment value of £5.3bn retained in the country, with 87% spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
And although jobs would be created throughout the UK, the researchers said that onshore wind projects would lift productivity in the areas that need it most.
“Now that the government has announced it will set a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, it needs to make use of the cheapest technology to get there – and to do so swiftly," Pinchbeck said.
“The government’s climate advisers are recommending more onshore wind because it’s part of the cheapest route to net zero emissions by 2050. Now is the perfect time for ministers dismantle the barriers which are preventing us all from benefiting from it in full."
Image credit | iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM