Renewables – onshore wind

More than a thousand onshore wind turbines were installed in the UK last year as energy companies scrambled to build new projects before government subsidies were scrapped. The surge produced new facilities capable of producing up to 2.6 gigawatts of electricity – double the 1.3 gigawatt capacity that was added in 2013. Offshore wind installations also hit a record high as 281 turbines capable of generating up to 1.7 gigawatts started spinning in British waters, according to the Wind Europe lobby group. The Conservatives fought the 2015 general election on a pledge to end subsidies for new onshore wind farms, amid fierce opposition from backbenchers and concern that their costs were pushing up household energy bills. Ministers shut down the main subsidy scheme which supported onshore wind projects a year early but they offered a “grace period” to developers who had been granted planning consent before the change. They acknowledged at the time that this loophole could lead to many more turbines being built. Most projects still had to be completed before the subsidy scheme’s original closure date of April last year but some with certain extenuating circumstances will still be able to qualify for financing until next January. Renewable UK, the industry body, says that there are now 7,000 turbines operating onshore across almost 1,500 projects, together capable of generating up to 12 gigawatts of power. It expects the installation rate to fall back significantly in 2018, although 25 wind farms with a capacity of 944 megawatts could still be installed, a further 377 megawatts being added next year.

Times 13th Feb 2018 read more »

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Published: 13 February 2018