As of the end of 2014, the total onshore generating capacity in the UK provided over 17 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity annually, equivalent to the electricity consumption of over 4 million homes.
Industry projections see a total of 12-14GW installed by 2020, by which point onshore wind will supply over 10 per cent of the UK’s total electricity annually. Employment growth in the sector has been substantial since numbers were first sourced in 2008 and now stands at around 19,000 full time employees, with the potential for this number to almost double by the early part of the next decade.
Beyond clean energy and jobs, the onshore wind industry brings many additional benefits to the UK, including through the provision of financial and social benefits to communities, increasing numbers of projects offering shared ownership opportunities for local communities and increased revenue generation for local authorities, through the retention of business rates in England.
Onshore wind is also the cheapest form of large scale renewable energy generation and is set to become the cheapest form of power generation by the end of the decade.
Onshore Cost Reduction
As the UK delivers its onshore wind programme it is important that cost savings are also delivered, to protect UK consumers. The industry is confident that onshore wind will be the cheapest form of new electricity generation by 2020. RenewableUK is now working with its members, following the reporting of the Onshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce in April 2015, to implement the cost reduction pathways identified.
Community Benefit Register
The industry works closely with the government, councils, local communities and wider interest groups to ensure benefits associated with wind energy developments are felt by those who live locally. In November, RenewableUK, in partnership with DECC and Regen SW, launched a Community Benefit Register for onshore wind energy in England. The English Register compliments the registers of community benefit that have been developed in Scotland and Wales over the last few years and together these registers provide a showcase for the work the industry is doing to deliver meaningful benefits to communities across the country, while also demonstrating the use that communities are making of this long term investment.
In addition to our long-standing work on community benefit we have also been exploring the benefits and potential for greater community shared ownership in onshore wind projects. In February 2014 RenewableUK was asked by the DECC Secretary of State to lead a Shared Ownership Taskforce, with a view to the establishing a Framework to facilitate an increase in the number of onshore renewable energy developments to offer shared ownership.
The Taskforce reported in November and the proposals contained in this report are relevant to England, Scotland and Wales and are now being implemented across the industry.