Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK’s new chancellor, has unveiled his new mini-budget, including a package of measures designed to restructure the UK economy and boost growth to at least 2.5%. As part of his budget, Mr Kwarteng announced policies to spur growth by cutting red tape around onshore wind farms in Britain. The construction of wind farms on UK soil will now align with other infrastructure projects, allowing the country to tap into a major new source of renewable energy.
In the statement, the government said it will “unlock the potential of onshore wind by aligning consent with other infrastructure.
“The UK is a world leader in offshore wind, with 8GW of offshore wind currently under construction. By 2023, the government is set to increase renewable energy capacity by 15%, supporting the UK’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.
Greg Jackson, CEO and Founder of Octopus Energy, a UK energy company, comments: “This is a huge step that will unleash the power of UK onshore wind power, lowering bills for all. Octopus Energy will move quickly to bring wind farms and lower bills to areas where communities want them.
“Onshore wind is cheap and incredibly popular with Britons – over 13,000 people have asked us for a wind farm in their area. But unnecessary red tape means it took an average of seven years to build and connect a new onshore wind farm. In fact, they can be built in a few months.
“By putting onshore wind on the same playing field as other technologies, we can accelerate our transition to net zero, increase UK energy security and wean ourselves off expensive gas for good.”
According to the government’s growth plan, “an offshore wind farm can take four years to go through the planning process and no substantial new onshore wind farms have received planning permission since 2015.
“On some metrics, the system has also deteriorated in recent years: the time to grant Development Consent Orders (DCOs) has increased by 65% between 2012 and 2021.”
As the cost of wholesale gas soars, renewable energy projects have become more lucrative than ever, with the most recent analysis revealing that wind power is nine times cheaper than current gas prices.
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The Carbon Brief analysis found that the government had awarded a number of contracts to offshore windfarm producers to produce electricity at an average price of £48 per megawatt hour (MWh), nine times cheaper than the current price of £446/MWh. operating cost of gas-fired power plants.
Infrastructure played a major role in the government’s new growth plan, where it unveiled sectoral changes to accelerate infrastructure delivery, including “harmonizing onshore wind planning policy with other infrastructure to enable him to be more easily deployed to England”.
As well as boosting the country’s energy security, onshore wind power could potentially shave thousands of pounds off customers’ energy bills, as companies like Octopus seek to incentivize local communities by offering discounts on utility bills. energy in exchange for setting up wind farms.
The company’s “Fan Club” is a model offering Octopus customers cheaper electricity if they live near wind turbines, and is currently available at three locations.
With Mr Jackson promising to “act fast”, more such wind projects could be on the way, saving bills for thousands of households.
Commenting on the energy measures in the Chancellor’s Growth Plan, Jess Ralston, Senior Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “The ban on onshore wind – which around 8 in 10 people support – has been a major anomaly in British energy. political given that it is both cheap and popular with the public.
“So a decision to lift the ban suggests the new government has listened to the experts and understands that building more UK renewables reduces our reliance on expensive gas and so lowers bills.”