MPs urge PM to allow onshore wind financing

One hundred and fifty-seven Members of Parliament have signed a letter along with environmental campaign groups 10:10 Climate Action and Power for People, urging the prime minister to reconsider aspects of the Government’s contracting scheme Contracts for Difference, which block onshore wind projects from receiving financial support. This comes soon after the Energy Minister received a letter from a large group of businesses and environmental organisations with similar requests, reported on here.

The letter references a recent government study that showed that 76 per cent of UK residents support onshore wind, and two thirds of UK residents would be in support of turbines within five miles of their homes, despite concerns of noise pollution. The letter also references some potential social benefits of onshore wind energy. As onshore wind is currently the cheapest new energy source, coming in at roughly 8p per KWh, MPs are eager to provide onshore wind projects to British communities that experience some of the highest wind speeds in Europe. New onshore projects could bring opportunities to small communities through jobs necessary for the project’s completions and maintenance, while providing cheap energy to local energy grids according to MPs. Onshore wind turbines are also easier to install than offshore projects which require specialised infrastructure to transfer the energy produced to shore. The letter requests that onshore wind developments “of no more than five MW” be given consideration equal to that given to other new energy proposals. Following disruptions from the failure of Hornsea on 9 August, reported on here, new smaller onshore wind farms could be a source of backup energy.

The MPs emphasise the benefits to sustainability of onshore wind projects, stating that “onshore wind energy is vital to our aim of achieving our climate targets at least cost and the inspiring vision of a before-2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

A recent study suggests that Europe has enough space for onshore wind turbines to not only reach zero-emissions targets but power the entire world until 2050. With 4.9m square kilometres of land in Europe, representing 46 per cent of Europe’s land, the study estimates that 11m wind turbines could create 497 exajoules of power, meeting world energy demand until 2050. While predictions like these would require a complete restructuring of the world’s energy infrastructure and Europe’s economy, the authors of the study said that these figures are meant to indicate the potential of onshore wind energy, and its usefulness in achieving emissions goals.

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