MPs join calls for onshore wind policy overhaul

A coalition of 130 MPs, including 35 from the Conservative Party, has called on Boris Johnson to alter the UK's planning and energy policies to better support the growth of onshore wind.


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MPs join calls for onshore wind policy overhaul

Pictured: The Scout Moor Wind Farm is England's second-largest onshore wind array

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister this week, the MPs state that “onshore wind energy is vital to our aim of achieving our climate targets at least cost and the inspiring vision of a before-2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target”.

The document highlights the decision taken by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in 2015 to exclude onshore wind assets from the Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) process – a move which industry body RenewableUK claims will stifle future growth in installations – as one which should be overturned on the road to net-zero.

It goes on to argue that the National Planning Policy Framework should be amended to help the uptake of small onshore arrays with a capacity of 5MW or less. At present, such developments are subject to a different and more lengthy process than other renewable and low-carbon projects. Moreover, the development of these small projects can be halted by one formal objection.  

The letter has been co-ordinated by campaign groups 10:10 Climate Action and Power for People, whose director Steve Shaw told edie’s sister publication Utility Week that a change in legislation was “absolutely” necessary in the UK meeting its 2050 net-zero goal.

“It’s the threat of one person complaining that undermines all the work and expense that means onshore windfarms are never proposed,” Shaw said. “We want to level the playing field, not open the floodgates.”

Mounting pressure

The MPs’ letter is one in a string of calls to action to have been made to Johnson over onshore wind since he took up the post of Prime Minister last month.

Just last week, a group of businesses from across the renewable energy sector signed a letter to Johnson, containing, broadly, the same requests. Signatories included EDF, Vestas, Vattenfall, Statkraft, RES Group, CS  Wind, Innogy and Siemens Gamesa, as well as major utilities SSE and Scottish Power. Trade organisations RenwableUK, Scottish Renewables, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Make UK, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) and the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) have also given their support.

Public support for onshore wind is also on the rise, with a recent BEIS survey finding that 76% of UK adults are in favour of the generation method. The survey additionally found that at least two-thirds of residents in each UK constituency would support turbines within five miles of their home.

During her time as Energy Minister, Claire Perry MP had hinted that onshore wind and solar projects could be allowed to compete for subsidies in future CfD auctions. But, since then, BEIS has repeatedly argued that offshore would be a cheaper mechanism for reaching net-zero, largely due to the fact that turbines can be bigger. Moreover, junior business minister Lord Henley recently told the House of Lords that the Government has no plans to change its existing policy approach to onshore wind.

Sarah George

© Faversham House Ltd 2022 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Comments (9)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    No indication is given concerning the identity of these 130 MPs, or even their chiefsignatory. One thing about them is certain, they had little or no knowledge of the technical aspects of wind power generation.

    Onshore wind yields only about 25 percent of its rated output, overall. This output may be down to 5 percent or less for many hours or days on end. Even this is uncontrollably variable. It isalways quoted in MWdays in order to conceal this crippling weakness. But thr MPs will, I guarantee have no idea of these facts.

    That 76 percent in favour of onshore wind, I wonder what the questions were?? As for the renewable companies wanting more turbines and subsidies, big sutprise!

    Richard Phillips

  2. Ben Burton says:

    The push for on shore installation of windmills only serves the purpose of lowering the installation cost V’s offshore.
    Windmills that are land mounted inherently yield less output than offshore, but cost less to erect.
    I’m completely convinced that 130 MP’s are completely aware they are handing away more tax payers money to reduced benefit of all.

  3. Richard Phillips says:

    One little side observation on the increase in the numbers of turbines. The more there are, the more there are to receive constraint payments when they are not needed, in times of high wind and low demand.

    The CCC report for zero CO2, advocates an installation of 75GW offshore, at present we have about 8GW installed. The cost of this sort of project is blood curdling, I guarantee that there would be lovely subsidies at the present rates for them all, and the constraint payments This more than doubles the bill to us consumers; but who cares!?!?

    Richard Phillips

  4. Dominic Winter says:

    The list of MPs is here https://powerforpeople.org.uk/onshore-wind-supportive-mps/

    Yield of rated power is irrelevant for renewables as the "fuel" is free.
    Yield per cost, per emissions and timing of yield are what matter

  5. Ben Burton says:

    It doesn’t matter how much wind power you install, the fact that fuel is free is irrelevant when the wind doesn’t blow.
    You can install all the wind power you want but when you get to near 40% of grid power from wind and it stops blowing then what?
    Time to burn fuel!
    have a look at the below site, you can see solar is more reliable but also completely useless
    https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

  6. Richard Phillips says:

    Well said Ben, and the gridwatch/Templar site is very illuminating.

    The power output of the metered wind energy, about 70% 0f the total, some 14GW stated capacity, remained at about the 1GW level for some seven days between the 7th and 17th of July last. Gas turbines came to the rescue, generating 30GW and above, when required. Nuclear did its usual job at a steady 5GW or so.

    This is how instantaneous power works, not on the criminally deceptive so-many tera-watt hours per year. This latter propaganda is, in my opinion, no less that traitorous, it seeks a situation putting the national economy in peril.

    My anger does not cease!!!!!!!!!

    Richard Phillips

  7. Keiron Shatwell says:

    The survey additionally found that at least two-thirds of residents in each UK constituency would support turbines within five miles of their home"

    Really? So why are so many people ready to complain and campaign against wind turbines in their back yards? And why isn’t there a turbine within 5 miles of every home in England?

    If this was true why isn’t the SE of England covered in turbines as that’s where over a 1/3rd of the country live. Oh that’s why because they like wind turbines but only if they are 600 miles away in the Scottish Highlands.

  8. Ben Burton says:

    Keiron
    Even if the wind mills where within 5 miles of every house it still wouldn’t power the UK if the wind isn’t blowing.
    The statement should read 2/3 of the public have been lead to believe that wind power is the answer, not knowing that covering the country still wouldn’t meet the demand.
    If you check https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ the windmills have produced no greater than 0.83Gw of there rated capacity of 15Gw since lunch time Friday 23/08/2019 to 27/08. The week before they where throwing out 10Gw.. Subsidies driven madness that will only increase the electric price, as I’m starting to believe that all that renewable energy will achieve and the only outcome they want.
    As we’ve seen over the past decade that the efficiency of products has become better and better, LED, electric motor technologies etc, but the greater efficiency has only been met by higher pricing to reflect the reduction in consumption globally.
    The hype and hysteria only to feed ways of ensuring that Joe public are squeezed a little harder under the guise of climate change emergency!

  9. Ben Burton says:

    Keiron
    Even if the wind mills where within 5 miles of every house it still wouldn’t power the UK if the wind isn’t blowing.
    The statement should read 2/3 of the public have been lead to believe that wind power is the answer, not knowing that covering the country still wouldn’t meet the demand.
    If you check https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ the windmills have produced no greater than 0.83Gw of there rated capacity of 15Gw since lunch time Friday 23/08/2019 to 27/08. The week before they where throwing out 10Gw.. Subsidies driven madness that will only increase the electric price, as I’m starting to believe that all that renewable energy will achieve and the only outcome they want.
    As we’ve seen over the past decade that the efficiency of products has become better and better, LED, electric motor technologies etc, but the greater efficiency has only been met by higher pricing to reflect the reduction in consumption globally.
    The hype and hysteria only to feed ways of ensuring that Joe public are squeezed a little harder under the guise of climate change emergency!

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