EDF Renewables UK, SSE Renewables and Siemens Gamesa are among the utility giants calling on the government to establish a new onshore wind generation strategy which they say is required to ensure Britain meets the 2050 net zero goal at the least cost to consumers.
In a letter addressed to newly appointed Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, the companies – including ScottishPower Renewables, Vattenfall, innogy, RenewableUK and Statkraft – urge him to reverse the government’s 2015 decision to exclude onshore wind farms from the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions.
They say the onshore wind industry is the UK’s largest generator of renewable electricity, supplying the annual needs of more than 7.25 million homes as well as support thousands of highly skilled jobs.
The companies point out the recent report from the Committee on Climate Change, which suggests reaching the net zero target at the least cost to the consumer will likely require an increased deployment of onshore wind, with analysis suggesting 35GW of onshore wind could be needed by 2035.
The letter insists onshore wind is not only the lowest cost source of new energy generation but further deployment will support 31,000 jobs and increase investment in the UK supply chain, which could deliver £360 million a year in exports.
It adds the renewable energy source could also provide a 7% reduction in electricity costs, saving households around £50 a year.
The letter states: “The onshore wind industry wholeheartedly supports the UK Government’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Such an ambitious target requires effective and timely policy making to make it achievable and affordable.
“We therefore urge you to establish a new onshore wind strategy at the soonest opportunity which embraces the creation of new jobs across Great Britain, delivers substantial investment and economic benefits and lower energy bills for every household.”
Other signatories of the letter are AE Yates, Ainscough Crane Hire, Athena PTS, CS Wind, Farrans, Powersystems UK, REG Power Management, RES Group, Scottish Renewables and Vestas.
A BEIS spokesperson said: “Onshore wind has been deployed successfully to date in the UK and can continue to be, where it has local support. Onshore wind recently exceeded our expectations and met early its contribution to our 2020 renewable energy target.”