Outdated policy could risk a £1billion windfall through blockage of the ‘cheapest electricity technology’ claims a new report published by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).
The new report entitled Blown Away claims that UK Government policy that seeks to block the proliferation of onshore wind development could have knock on effects for energy bills, climate change objectives and wider British business.
When calculated over a four to five year period the report found that the total cost to the UK energy generation sector could total £1billion.
The report also found that Britain is on course to slip to bottom place in wind farm efficiency amongst its EU neighbours without meaningful investment.
Richard Black, director of the ECIU, said: “The effective ban on the cheapest form of new power generation looks increasingly perverse. For a Government committed to making energy cheaper, this risks not only locking people into higher bills, but also runs contrary to its aim of having the lowest energy costs in Europe.
“These blustery isles have no shortage of wind and while other European nations are going large on onshore wind the UK is starting to fall behind by not making the most of our natural resource.
“David Cameron promised no new subsidies for onshore wind. But it now doesn’t need a subsidy – research indicates fixed-price contracts would more than pay for themselves.
“So, given that the government also knows it needs new low-carbon policies the question is, why not enable onshore wind where local people want it and where it won’t harm wildlife, while continuing to support a healthy mix of other low-carbon energy generation?”
The report goes on to state that analysis undertaken after the most recent round of offshore wind farm Contract for Difference (CfD) auctions is suggestive of the possibility for lower than expected onshore wind generation prices of £50/MWh.
Dr Jonathan Marshall, ECIU energy analyst, said: “Changing tack on onshore wind would be widely supported. People are overwhelmingly in favour of renewable forms of energy, and onshore wind is one of the most popular forms of generation; surveys show that people are far keener on living next to an onshore wind farm than a fracking site or a small nuclear reactor.
“The opportunity of repeating the British success story on offshore wind should also be a powerful motivator, and there would be added benefits in diversifying the UK’s energy mix. A policy rethink on onshore wind looks increasingly overdue.”