Last week the government announced that it would be focusing on a pretty ambitious climate target, with the goal of reaching a net zero of harmful greenhouse emissions by the year 2050. It's a pretty lofty goal, especially when the current ruling party has been quite into pushing fracking onto the population, and it means a lot of work needs to be done. One of the key areas where Britain can do its part is with wind power, and now new research claims the government should be refocusing its efforts on onshore wind farms.
The Conservative government hasn't been all that fond of onshore wind since it came into power, and has been mostly focusing its efforts on offshore wind farms where the locals can't complain about the noise or the turbines spoiling their garden view. Onshore wind farms are much harder to gain permission for, and under current rules only offshore wind farms are eligible to bid for subsidies.But now various people in the know are urging the government to stop being so stubborn in light of the net zero goal.
According to some analysis by Vivid Economomics, increasing Britain's onshore wind capacity from 13GW to 35GW by 2035 could help reduce the cost of electricity by up to seven per cent. This has been echoed by trade body Renewable UK whose research claims we could all benefit from a £50 annual discount on our energy bills too.
That's because producing onshore wind power is expected to be cheaper than the burning natural gas, all thanks to the lowering cost of technology and the increased cost of using fossil fuels for electricity generation. The report also claims it could increase the number of jobs in the wind energy sector to 31,000 by 2035, and bring £360 million in export money. That may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but everything helps, right?
Alan Whitehead, the shadow minister for energy and climate change, has said:
“Onshore wind is a win-win-win. It reduces reliance on imported fuels, reduces energy prices for households and reduces carbon.
It is simply economically illiterate not to go for onshore wind in a big way. The government should remove their barriers to onshore wind and engage communities to get it built.”