The Government’s “outdated” policy on onshore wind could cost the UK around £1bn over the next four or five years, according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (EClU).
A new report published from the non-profit claims that 1GW of new onshore wind farms would be £30m cheaper a year than offshore wind and £100m less than new nuclear or biomass plants.
The ECIU does insist the UK’s “effective ban” on support for onshore wind is blocking development of the cheapest new electricity generation technology in Britain. The report calls on the Government to change its “increasingly perverse” strategy or risk affecting consumers’ bills, British business competitiveness and the UK’s long-term climate goals.
Onshore wind has been locked out of the UK’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) framework since 2015, with the current auction process only open to less established renewable technologies such as offshore wind.
Since that time, the cost of the technology has plummeted as the industry matured. The EClU says that price reductions mean that onshore wind farms do not need a subsidy, but most developments still require centrally-agreed fixed-price contacts.
The world’s first floating wind farm has started delivering electricity to the Scottish grid. Five giant turbines have been tethered to the seabed about 15 miles from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. The wind farm has been officially opened by Nicola Sturgeon who said the project, which will generate enough power for about 20,000 homes, was testament to Scotland’s “international reputation” for renewable energy.
At 175m from sea surface to blade tip, the turbines are almost as tall as the Queensferry Crossing They extend another 78 metres below the surface and are chained to the seabed to stay in place.
Norwegian energy firm Statoil has been working on developing the project, known as Hywind, for more than 15 years. Statoil says up to 80% of potential offshore wind sites are in waters more than 60m deep. The company believes floating turbines have the potential to work in depths of up to 800m.