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RenewableUK warns of threat to investment after record year for onshore wind

31 August 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Luke Clark
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Launching a report showing a record high deployment of onshore wind in the UK in 2017, industry body RenewableUK is today warning that the future growth of the industry and investment in new infrastructure is at risk without a change in Government policy.  


In 2017 a record 2,611 megawatts (MW) of onshore wind came online in the UK – over 20% of all onshore wind capacity in the UK. The new capacity was overwhelmingly installed outside of England, with 1,673MW in Scotland, 356MW in Wales and 247MW in Northern Ireland.  


New onshore wind capacity added in 2017 represents an investment value of £5.3bn retained in the UK. Of this, 87% (£4.7bn) of this was spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 


However, the Government’s policy of blocking onshore wind from competing for new power contracts, known as Contracts for Difference, means that the industry faces a steep drop off in new investment and new capacity coming online.  


Onshore wind is the lowest cost option for new power in the UK, with a recent economic analysis from BVG Associates showing that contracts for new onshore wind would provide a payback to consumers of over £1.6bn.  


Commenting on the report, RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said: 
“2017 was a record-breaking year for onshore wind in the UK, with more new capacity coming on line than ever before. This technology is now powering over 7.6m homes. Onshore wind is a major success story in the UK’s low carbon economy and is now the cheapest option for new power.  


“By excluding onshore wind from the market, the Government is putting at risk billions of pounds of new investment annually across the UK and making it more expensive to meet its own climate change targets”.  


The document includes case studies of onshore wind farms developed by ScottishPower Renewables and SSE, which are bringing economic benefits to local communities.


 CEO of ScottishPower Renewables Lindsay McQuade said:“Onshore wind has seen incredible growth in recent years. Every single new megawatt built helps the environment and supports the economy. If we were to build 5 gigawatts (GW) of new onshore wind power in the UK between 2019 and 2025, It would deliver £12bn benefits to UK economy, support 18,000 construction jobs and 8,500 long-term skilled jobs. It is also the cheapest form of electricity generation available to UK. New projects could deliver a net payback of £1.6 billion to consumers. It is vital that we continue to work with Government to ensure that onshore wind has a future.”


SSE’s Director of Generation Development Paul Cooley said: “The onshore wind industry has created jobs, supported an indigenous supply chain, stimulated investment in remote areas, reduced carbon emissions and cut costs, as SSE’s recent Decade of Clean Growth report shows.

“There are still opportunities to develop efficient, appropriately sited projects – both new and repowered – to harness Scotland’s excellent wind resource. A supportive policy framework that addresses market and planning challenges is vital to enable onshore wind to continue delivering local and national benefits”.



For further information, please contact: 

·  Luke Clark, Head of External Affairs 0207 901 3037 or 078 757 04032  

·  Robert Norris, Head of Communications, 0207 901 3013 or 07969 229 913 



1.    RenewableUK’s members are building our future energy system, powered by clean electricity. We bring them together to deliver that future faster; a future which is better for industry, billpayers, and the environment. We support over 400 member companies to ensure increasing amounts of renewable electricity are deployed across the UK and access markets to export all over the world. Our members are business leaders, technology innovators, and expert thinkers from right across industry.  We are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. 


2.    The new publication Onshore Wind: Powering Communities is available on the RenewableUK website 


3.    The Government uses competitive auctions for Contracts for Difference to procure new renewable generation capacity. Since 2015, the Government has excluded onshore wind from these auctions 


4.    BVG Associates report The Power of Onshore Wind is available here  


5.    SSE’s report Decade of Clean Growth is available here

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