UK’s total pipeline of onshore wind projects rises to 33 gigawatts

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New research published by RenewableUK shows that the total capacity of the pipeline of onshore wind projects which are operating, under construction, consented or being planned in the UK has grown to nearly 33GW.

A year ago, the total pipeline stood at 30GW. Their latest Onshore Wind Project Intelligence report shows that there could be significant increases in deployment from the mid-2020s onwards. If every project in the current pipeline were to go ahead, the UK would reach 30GW by 2030, more than double the UK’s current operational capacity of 13.9GW

33GW of onshore wind capacity would power more than 21 million homes all year round, playing a significant role in decarbonising the UK’s electricity system.

Earlier this month RenewableUK published an Onshore Wind Prospectus which shows that doubling the UK’s onshore wind capacity would reduce consumer bills by £16.3 billion over the course of this decade – an annual saving for £25 for every household. It would also generate £45 billion of economic activity, and create 27,000 full-time jobs. 70 per cent of people think the local planning system should encourage the building of onshore wind projects.

However, the Prospectus also shows that the UK is currently consenting less than half the annual capacity needed to reach the target set by the Climate Change Committee of 35GW by 2035. Just over 600MW a year is being given the go-ahead, when it is necessary to greenlight 1,250MW a year to stay on course.

RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail said: “The Government’s new Net Zero Strategy specifically calls for more onshore wind to be installed in the 2020s and beyond, to help to enable the UK to be powered entirely by clean electricity by 2035.

“As our latest Onshore Wind Project Intelligence report shows, we have a pipeline of projects which can help the UK to reach net zero as fast as possible – and at the lowest cost to consumers, as this is one of the cheapest ways to generate new power.

“But to achieve this we need planning systems in place in all four UK nations which reflect the consistently high level of public support for this technology and allow projects to go ahead where they have a majority of local support. This must include encouraging the repowering of older onshore wind projects as they reach the end of their lifespan with taller, even more efficient turbines. At the moment, less than half the annual onshore wind capacity we need to stay on track to meet our climate change targets is being consented.

“In December, onshore wind will be competing for contracts to generate clean power for the first time in five years. To maximise job creation and investment, we need to move from holding auctions every two years to annual auctions, framed by a government target to 30GW of onshore wind by 2030. Doing this would show great leadership in tackling climate change at a time when the UK has an unprecedented international platform at COP26.”

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