Renewable electricity surge bolsters defence of onshore wind sector
Record-breaking figures from the UK renewables sector have prompted fresh calls for the Government to reconsider its proposed end to onshore wind subsidies.
Renewable energy provided 43% of UK electricity at 2pm on Saturday – a new high according to energy and environment writer Chris Goodall. An unusually windy and sunny day meant that by 3pm, coal was providing just 7% of the UK’s electricity.
“If the country chooses to invest in wind, solar and other renewables, it can push coal-fired generation out of the generation mix completely,” said Goodall.
Meanwhile, WWF Scotland reported that wind power output north of the border saw a year on-year bump of 83% in May.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Strong winds throughout the month helped to make it a record-breaking May, with enough clean energy generated to supply the equivalent of 47% of Scotland’s entire electricity demand from homes, businesses and industry for the month.
“However, despite the fact that onshore wind power is clearly working, the continued development of this clean energy technology in Scotland is at risk thanks to UK plans to end support for the industry earlier than planned.
“Cutting support now for the lowest cost renewable technology would be a backwards step that will either see consumer bills rise or our climate targets missed.”
Banks added that opinion polls consistently showed onshore wind to be one of the most popular forms of electricity, while also supporting thousands of jobs and cutting emissions.
“We encourage the Scottish Government to continue to support the development of onshore wind in Scotland and press UK Ministers to think again on its plans to cut support,” he said.
In mid-May, Amber Rudd said that ending subsidies for onshore wind farms was one of her top priorities.
She said her plans would mean “no more onshore wind farm subsidies and no more onshore wind farms without local community support.
She added: “This is really important. I’ve already got my team working on it. That’s going to be one of the first things we’re going to do.”