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Calls for Government to reconsider stance on onshore wind farms

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Energy groups are calling on the Government to reconsider its stance on onshore wind farms, after a report revealed that such farms could be developed in the UK for around half the cost of gas or nuclear power plants such as Hinkley Point C.

According to engineering group Arup, wind farms in the UK could be delivered for approximately £50-55 per megawatt hour (MWh) across 15 years, in contrast to the reported cost of £92.50 per MWh over 35 years for Hinkley Point C.

The research, which was commissioned by leading energy provider ScottishPower, comes at a time when the price of the technology used to develop wind turbines appears to be falling.

Analysis from Arup suggests that such technology has “become so cheap that developers could deliver turbines for a guaranteed price of power so low that it would be effectively subsidy-free in terms of the impact on household energy bills,” a report in The Guardian suggests.

Keith Anderson, chief operating officer of ScottishPower, is now calling on the UK Government to reconsider a ‘ban’ effectively imposed on onshore windfarms in 2015, when such initiatives were made subject to new planning hurdles and were prevented from competing for subsidies.

He said: “If you want to control the cost of energy, and deliver energy to consumers and to businesses across the UK at the most competitive price, why would you not want to use this technology? This report demonstrates it’s at the leading edge of efficiency.

“I would find it surprising if anybody else doing a costs review of the energy sector comes to a fundamentally different argument,” he said.

He added that the development of onshore wind facilities in the UK would go a long way to assist the nation in meeting its climate change targets – which the Government is facing mounting criticism over amid concerns that Britain is not on track to adequately reduce its carbon emissions over the coming years.