A new report by energy trade body RenewableUK has warned that the UK Government’s “policy of blocking” onshore wind is a threat to future investment in the sector. Launching the report, the trade body has called for a change in government policy to avoid a “steep drop off in new investment and new capacity coming online”. New onshore wind capacity added in 2017 represents an investment value of £5.3 billion to the UK purse. Of the total amount, 87% (£4.7bn) was spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Energy Voice 31st Aug 2018 read more »
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.
RenewableUK 31st Aug 2018 read more »
In February Mrs McQuade, now 42, was promoted to chief executive of Scottish Power Renewables. It operates 39 onshore wind farms, accounting for about a sixth of Britain’s onshore capacity, more than any of its rivals. It also has hydro-electric plants, two offshore wind farms and more in development and generated total earnings of £316 million last year. Along with energy networks, and household supply and conventional power plants, renewables is one of the three core businesses that make up Scottish Power, the British division of Iberdrola, the Spanish multinational. It wasn’t always thus. When Mrs McQuade started work in Scottish Power, “we had a renewables business but it was niche compared to the coal side. Gas plant was still pretty novel, but coal was king. I’ve seen an industry utterly transform.” Although her career path to the top of the renewables industry began more by accident than design, she is now one of its biggest evangelists. Not content with a turbine empire that spans Beinn Tharsuinn in the Scottish Highlands to Carland Cross in Cornwall, she is determined to build more. The obstacle is the government’s decision in 2015 to end the subsidies that had fuelled the growth of onshore wind farms, amid criticism of their cost to consumers and hostility from Conservative grassroots. Thus Mrs McQuade is lobbying ministers to resume offering onshore wind projects contracts guaranteeing a price for the power they generate, like those offered to subsidise other green technologies. She argues that onshore wind costs have fallen so far that the contracts would not entail subsidies and in fact would save consumers money by undercutting wholesale prices. “Onshore wind is the cheapest by a country mile in terms of new, scalable generation.” Failing to build more onshore wind would be “throwing away” the industry that those early subsidies developed. Yet she insists that contracts are needed to make investment viable. “I’ve got two sites consented right now and I would dearly love to see them both built, but I don’t have a route to market.” It’s not only about new sites. From 2025, many existing wind farms will start to come to the end of their original contracts and planning consents, pushing “repowering” up the agenda.
Times 1st Sept 2018 read more »