Onshore wind could save each consumer £50 annually, new research claims

Hill of Towie windfarm in Moray.
Hill of Towie windfarm in Moray.

Onshore wind projects could save consumers up to £50 per person annually, according to new independent research.

The analysis, provided by Vivid Economics, claims that if new wind projects are allowed to go ahead in England, would save consumers money and create thousands of jobs.

Last month, Westminster announced that more onshore wind development is “not right for England” as public opinion in favour of the technology soared across the UK.

A new poll released last month by the UK department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) showed a growth in public attitude from 76% in 2018 to 79% in 2019.

But the same department claimed that large scale wind development does not have the support of local people in England.

A local veto on onshore wind currently stands in England, whereas in Scotland no such rules govern the industry.

The new research also shows that the sector would nearly triple employment, supporting 31,000 jobs by 2035 with 14,000 directly employed in the industry (up from 5,300 direct jobs now), if 35 gigawatts (GW) is deployed.

The research claims new jobs would be created throughout the UK, “lifting productivity in areas that need it most, particularly in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland”.

The researchers point out that onshore wind faces multiple barriers today, including exclusion from Government-backed contracts to generate power, and strict rules governing the construction of onshore turbines which have led to a significant decline in planning applications since 2015.

The study notes that these barriers have increased uncertainty in the project pipeline, reducing investment in the UK-based supply chain.

RenewableUK’s deputy chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck said: “Now that the Government has announced that 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, as people are demanding immediate action on climate change.

“They also want lower electricity bills in the decades ahead, and skilled jobs. 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 Government’s climate advisers are also 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 to take a fresh look at this key technology and dismantle the barriers which are preventing us all from benefiting from it in full.”

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