A large part of RenewableUK’s work is helping to make links between policy makers and our membership, ensuring that politicians and civil servants understand the views of the industry, and industry has a proper understanding of the work of the Government.
The industry needs a stable policy environment to deliver the benefits of renewable energy. This means that industry and other interested groups need clarity on how the planning system works, how funding is awarded for different renewable technologies and how the energy industry is regulated. It is therefore important, for the renewables industry and for anyone else wanting to take part in the debate, that we have a transparent evidence base on which to build well considered policy.
Much of RenewableUK’s work is focussed on developing this evidence base and sharing this with government and other key stakeholders. Recent examples include our work to establish a clear cost reduction trajectory for the onshore wind sector and our demonstration of the positive economic impact that the onshore wind industry has on the UK economy:
In mid-2014 RenewableUK established an industry taskforce to explore the potential to bring down the overall cost of energy to the consumer. Reporting in April 2015, the Report of the Onshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce set out a pathway to become the lowest-cost form of energy by 2020, through a series of measures designed to increase energy yields, improve industry learning and reduce project costs.
The report includes a number of recommendations for both industry and Government and the industry is now working to deliver these, in collaboration with Government and other stakeholders. Through this work RenewableUK seeks to impress on the Government the opportunities available to both reduce the costs of decarbonisation and increase UK energy security in the most cost-efficient way. Already the cheapest form of renewable energy generation, onshore wind is set to become cheaper than all forms of energy, including conventional gas plant, by the end of this decade.
The economic benefits derived from the UK’s onshore wind industry, while having long been under-estimated, are now shown to represent significant financial rewards at the national, regional and local levels. RenewableUK’s recent report into the economic effects of the onshore wind industry, which follows a previous 2012 study done in partnership with DECC, shows that the levels of UK content and wider economic value derived from the UK’s onshore wind sector have increased significantly in the last three years.
Today onshore wind brings significant economic benefit to the UK, with the level of economic value derived from the sector (GVA) having risen from £548m to £906m between the end of 2011 and the end of 2014 - a rise of 65%. Looking at UK content, the financial benefits of the onshore wind industry are felt even more strongly with 69% of all project spend now remaining within the UK – 37% of which remains within the local authority area in which the project is located.
To accompany this report we also produced a series of regional and national Factsheets highlighting the economic and environmental value of the current operational fleet in each area. These Factsheets provide data on a range of issues, from direct spend, community benefit contributions and business rates, through to carbon savings, energy generation and the number of homes powered by onshore wind in each area of the UK.