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Economy-wide coalition of companies and organisations urges Government to support onshore wind

05 August 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Luke Clark
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The widest range of companies and organisations ever assembled in support of onshore wind is calling for the new Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng to support the development of new onshore wind farms, to help to achieve the UK’s net zero emissions target at the lowest cost, saving consumers money and boosting the competitiveness of industry.

In a letter to the Energy Minister, onshore wind developers, trade bodies, investors and supply chain companies urge Mr Kwarteng to establish a new onshore wind. Signatories include the leaders of major companies in the sector like ScottishPower Renewables, EDF Renewables, innogy, SSE Renewables, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Vestas, RES Group, Vattenfall, Statkraft and CS Wind, as well as trade associations RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables.

Beyond the signatories to the letter, the call for a new approach to support onshore wind has been backed by the trade union Prospect, the National Farmers’ Union, the RSPB, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the manufacturer’s organisation Make UK (formerly EEF), the National Infrastructure Commission, the Aldersgate Group which campaigns for a sustainable economy, and the environmental campaign group 10:10 Climate Action.

The letter highlights the key role that cheap onshore wind power can play in meeting the Government’s net zero target at lowest cost to consumer. The Government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, last month recommended that onshore wind be allowed to compete in Government-backed auctions for contracts to generate power. The CCC has suggested that if the current block was lifted, 35GW of onshore wind could be deployed by 2035 to help to meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets. According to the Chief Executive of the CCC Chris Stark, “the more onshore wind we have, the cheaper net zero becomes”.

In addition to allowing onshore wind to compete for Contracts for Difference, the letter urges the Government to update planning rules so that the most modern and efficient turbines can be used at suitable high-wind locations in the UK, as well as setting out guidance to support the replacement of older turbines.

The economic benefits to the UK of deploying 35GW of onshore wind were set out in a recent report by independent experts Vivid Economics, which has been sent to the new Energy Secretary along with the letter. The analysis shows that that onshore wind is the lowest-cost source of new power generation and further deployment would reduce household electricity bills by 7% a year by 2035, saving bill payers £50 a year. New onshore wind would support 31,000 high-value jobs across the country by 2035, and deliver £360 million a year in exports.

The letter highlights widespread public support for new wind farms, reminding the Energy Minister of the Government’s own Public Attitudes Tracker which shows 79% public support for onshore wind, and that recent polling by the Conservative Environment Network found support for onshore wind amongst Conservative voters stands at 74% - whilst over half the electorate look unfavourably on political parties who support a ban on the technology.

Beyond the signatories to the letter, the call for a new approach to support onshore wind has been backed by the trade union Prospect, the National Farmers’ Union, the RSPB, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the manufacturer’s organisation Make UK (formerly EEF), the National Infrastructure Commission, the Aldersgate Group which campaigns for a sustainable economy, and the environmental campaign group 10:10 Climate Action.

The Deputy General Secretary of the trade union Prospect Sue Ferns said: “Decarbonising our economy while increasing generating capacity and keeping bills low is a huge challenge that will require a mix of technologies to achieve. It is obvious that onshore wind has to be a key part of that mix. A rapid expansion of onshore wind deployment also has the potential to create thousands of good green jobs across the UK, and help secure a Just Transition for workers as high carbon generation is phased out.”

The National Farmers’ Union’s Chief Adviser on Renewable Energy and Climate Change Dr Jonathan Scurlock said “The NFU is frustrated by the current barriers and lack of incentives for onshore wind power – this impacts upon farmers and growers wishing to diversify their businesses with on-site power generation, the income from which helps to make farm enterprises more profitable and resilient in a volatile world”.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds saidAnalysis conducted for the RSPB’s Energy Vision suggests that onshore wind with an annual output of up to 140TWh could be developed with low ecological risk. We support the increased use of onshore wind in appropriate sites as part of the wider UK renewables strategy needed to tackle the climate emergency and to deliver net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. It’s vital that the UK government responds positively to the Committee on Climate Change’s recent call for a “route to market” for onshore wind, so that current low levels of deployment can be reversed.”

The CBI’s Senior Policy Adviser on Energy and Climate Change, Tanisha Beebee said: “The CBI is eager to see the development and progression of renewable energy technologies, with associated economic, environmental and industrial benefits across the UK, and this begins with further harnessing the UK’s potential for the cheapest new-build energy technology – onshore wind”.

The Executive Director of Communication, Government and Policy at Make UK (formerly EEF) Ben Fletcher said “British manufacturers face some of Europe’s highest power prices. Bringing back support for onshore wind would help reduce overall energy prices and thereby improve manufacturers’ competitiveness.”

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Policy and Advocacy Chairman Martin McTague said: “In the UK, onshore wind generates more electricity than any other renewable source. As we journey towards a low carbon economy, FSB wants to see the UK lead the world in renewable technologies like onshore wind, nurturing the UK skills base and ensuring that our small firms are empowered to supply their products, services and expertise to these industries.”

The Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, Phil Graham, said “Meeting our Net Zero target means creating a highly renewable and flexible energy system for the UK, so we must prioritise the renewable technologies that can do that: onshore wind, plus offshore and solar generation. A diverse mix of renewable technologies can play a central role in ensuring our future energy network can meet growing demand and cope with the challenges of intermittent generation and extreme weather. It’s important therefore that onshore wind generation should benefit from a route to market through contracts for difference, as offshore generation already does.”

The Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group Nick Molho said: “A renewed roll-out of onshore wind will help complete the cost-effective decarbonisation of the power sector and is essential to deliver competitive electricity prices for industrial users.” 

The environmental campaign group 10:10 Climate Action said: “Clean onshore wind power is popular in every single constituency in the UK, is our cheapest energy source bar none, and is a solution to the pressing climate crisis. Local communities can lead, own and benefit from new projects - but only if the de facto ban is lifted and onshore wind is granted fair treatment alongside other energy sources.”

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said: “It’s great to see such a wide range of companies and organisations speaking with one voice in strong support of onshore wind. There are shovel-ready onshore projects across the UK that would bring in billions of pounds of investment, support thousands of jobs and even cut consumer bills. Onshore wind is the cheapest option for new power in the UK and it is essential if we want to achieve net zero emissions. We hope the new Government will take swift action to let onshore wind compete on a level playing field”.  


For further information, please contact:

· Luke Clark, Head of External Affairs 0207 901 3037 or 07973 481 907

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


  1. The full list of signatories to the letter is RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables, ScottishPower Renewables, RES Group, Vattenfall, Statkraft, EDF Renewables UK, innogy, SSE Renewables, Siemens Gamesa, Vestas, CS Wind, AE Yates, Farrans, Ainscough Crane Hire, REG Power Management, Powersystems UK, Athena PTS.

  2. The wider organisations supporting the use of onshore wind to meet our net zero can be found here.

  3. Onshore wind is the UK’s largest generator of renewable electricity, providing nearly 10% of our annual electricity needs, powering 7.25 million homes a year.

  4.  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 to access export markets all over the world. Our members are business leaders, technology innovators, and expert thinkers from right across industry.

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