The government’s recent changes to onshore wind policy in England have received mixed reactions from industry leaders, who argue that the adjustments do not go far enough to address the challenges facing onshore wind developments.
Planning system against onshore wind
RenewableUK‘s Head of Onshore Wind James Robottom responded to the announced changes, expressing concerns about the limitations of the proposed reforms.
Mr Robottom said: “The proposed changes don’t go far enough. We will still face a planning system stacked against onshore wind that treats it differently to every other energy source or infrastructure project.
“A lot will be open to interpretation and there are still hurdles to navigate which remain in place. There has been a slight softening at the edges but nothing more. As a result, we’re not going to see investment into new onshore wind at the scale needed to rapidly cut bills and boost energy security.
“We need to build on this emerging cross-party consensus to develop a planning system that is fit for purpose, which supports communities who choose to host clean cheap energy projects, as well as our industry’s ability to invest in them.”
Responding to the news, Energy UK‘s Deputy Chief Executive, Dhara Vyas, said: “The recent government statement reaffirming last year’s proposed changes to onshore wind policy falls short of placing onshore wind on equal footing with other infrastructure planning applications.
“This discrepancy means that developers may continue to hesitate in pursuing new onshore projects due to the ongoing higher risk of encountering obstacles and potential project blockages. As a result, the full potential of onshore wind development may remain unrealized, representing a missed opportunity for progress in this sector.”
Grid struggles to keep up with renewable energy revolution demands
David Hall, Vice President of Power Systems at Schneider Electric UK&I, said: “The UK Government’s decision to ease restrictions on new onshore wind farms in England is a positive step towards sustainable energy.
“However, while the existing grid serves its purpose, it’s not equipped to handle the demands of a renewable energy revolution that is imperative to achieve a net zero future.”