Onshore wind and solar set for revival: the industry responds

In the past New Power Report has often joined the renewables industry, and a huge number of wider commentators, in arguing that the government’s effective ban on onshore wind is misguided. Most recently, in the March isue of New Power Report, editor Janet Wood argued that if the year of COP is to be the year of delivery on Net Zero, then lifting that ban should be first on the list of actions (subscribers login to download the March issue).

We are delighted to hear that the government has heard the arguments from across the poitical spectrum and look forward to hearing how onshore wind and solar can regain their place in our renewable energy portfolio – likelu by taking part in the next allocation round for Contracts for Difference.

Maf Smith, who previously headed RenewableUK, noted on twitter that, “Access to the CfD means onshore wind companies offering to pay UK consumers for the right to generate in return for government setting a price floor and sharing some of the risk in development. Its a great deal for electricity consumers.”

Here are other responses from around the industry and beyond.

Richard Graham MP, Member of Parliament for Gloucester and Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy, via twitter, ”Delighted the PM & government has heard our case for onshore wind & solar to be part of green energy auctions (where supported by local democracy). This shows leadership in year of UK hosting Climate Change Summit”

Charlie Ward, head of renewables at New Stream Renewables, “This sounds like really positive news and a step in the right direction in terms of hitting emissions targets.

“This is exciting news, but the devil will be in the detail again. We are assuming that this will be some sort of CfD, but there are lots of immediate questions in terms of which pot, what deployment caps will be used and how they will manage any unintended consequences in terms of negative power pricing..

“We are again witnessing the transition to a low carbon energy market, but this will not be without its challenges. We are going to be incentivising wind, which is great, but this in intermittent technology and at the same time we are losing the dirty baseload. This is also good news but we need baseload or new flexibility to balance and manage the system. I can only see this getting more difficult in the short term. Perhaps we also need the government to look at ways to incentivise storage and flexibility alongside more renewable support.”

Hugh McNeal, chief executive, RenewableUK, “The Government is pressing ahead with action to meet our net zero emissions target quickly and at lowest cost to consumers and businesses. Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy. As one of the UK’s cheapest power sources, new onshore wind projects will be a huge boost for jobs and investment in local economies across the UK”.

Chris Hewett, chief executive, Solar Trade Association,  said: “Today’s announcement marks a major shift in the right direction for government policy on onshore renewables, and a welcome opportunity for the solar industry.

“New clean power auctions for Pot 1 technologies will accelerate the decarbonisation of the power sector and drive the shift towards net zero, bringing with it new jobs, cheaper electricity and opportunities closer to home for Britain’s highly experienced solar investors.

“The government is backing a winner in solar, which is not only the UK’s most popular energy technology, but also highly cost-effective and one which offers unique opportunities to enhance local biodiversity and agriculture.”

Ann Jones, Vice-Chair, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: “Using clean, cheap, popular electricity sources where communities support them is just common sense. WI members are clear that we cannot delay tackling the climate crisis, so this is the right decision and another step on the path to reaching our much-needed net zero emissions target.

“WI members want to see decisive action from the government to make net-zero a reality, so this is also an important signal from our country as host of the UN climate summit later this year.”

Dr Jonathan Marshall, Head of Analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: ”Generating more electricity from solar panels and onshore wind is one of the simplest ways of cutting energy bills for British families and businesses. Rapid technological development alongside effective policies to lock in long-term low prices mean that building more cheap renewables is good for the climate, for our wallets, and for thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that are behind the UK’s renewable revolution.

“More onshore wind and solar are vital in creating the clean power system that will underpin the UK as it becomes a carbon neutral nation. By backing technologies that have overwhelming support from the public, the government has a real opportunity to close the gap on our carbon targets and to set a global example as delegates from around the world prepare for the UN climate conference on British soil in November.”

Jan Andersson, Market Development Manager at Wärtsilä Energy Business, said: “Onshore wind is the cheapest form of new energy generation, so it’s fantastic to see the UK government remove its restrictions and breathe new life into the industry.

“As the amount of renewables on the grid grows, it’s essential that the UK continues to focus on increasing the amount of flexible generation and energy storage on the grid so that it can quickly respond to the fluctuations in generation as we move towards net zero.”