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Will UK Lift the Ban on Onshore Wind Farms?

Will UK Lift the Ban on Onshore Wind Farms - Certrec

Figures from UK’s National Grid show that wind was a major player in generating power in 2022. It was the second largest source of electricity, supplying 26.8 percent; 5 percent higher compared to 2021. Last year was the first time ever that wind supplied more than 3 months of Britain’s electricity, which shows a rapid growth in wind energy.

In February 2022, which was the windiest month in Britain, 41.4 percent of the national supply of electricity was generated by turbines. The greatest output produced by Britain’s fleet, thus far, 20.918 gigawatts, was on a very windy day on December 30, last year.

How Many Wind Turbines Does the UK Have?

There are around 11,500 onshore and offshore wind turbines in the UK:

What Does UK’s Energy Security Strategy Say About Wind?

By 2030, the government of UK wants to be able to power every home through wind energy. It aims to reach net zero emissions by 2050, which means there needs to be a huge increase in renewable energy generation, like wind and solar. 

The UK government’s energy security strategy mentions that they would like 50 gigawatts of their electricity to be generated by offshore wind; 5GW of the 50GW will be generated from floating platforms, off the coast of UK. They are trying to speed up the time it takes for a new project to get cleared, and decrease the approval time for new offshore wind farms from four to one.

Energy companies have stressed the fact that onshore wind farms could produce electricity more quickly, however the government has not shown much flexibility in reducing the planning obstacles for onshore wind.

Strict planning restrictions were laid down on onshore wind farms by the former prime minister, David Cameron, in 2015.

The government has said that it would like to work in partnership with, “a limited number of supportive communities,” which are interested in lowering their electricity bills in return for hosting wind farms. Local communities seem to agree to having a wind turbine in their area if it means cheaper electricity.

Why is Onshore Wind Controversial - Internal Image - Certrec

Why is Onshore Wind Controversial?

There has been a 94 percent decline in onshore wind projects in the UK, since 2015. That is when the government put in place strict planning regulations and ended subsidies, due to complaints of wind turbines being too noisy and unpleasant to look at.

According to the planning restrictions in Britain, onshore wind farms must be identified in neighborhood plans, which requires community backing. Local plans are only produced every five years and are not updated regularly. This has greatly slowed down planning, and has added six years to the construction time.  

Wind turbines are seen as a threat to birds by some, however, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says that wind turbines will have “minimal impacts” if they are situated away from major flocks.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed in the blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Certrec. The content of this blog is meant for informational purposes only.