Looking to the future for onshore wind
With the onshore wind industry facing an uncertain future, CBI Business Environment Director, Rhian Kelly, highlighted its importance as part of a balanced energy mix at the opening session of the Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind Conference.
Last month, CBI Business Environment Director, Rhian Kelly, spoke at the Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind conference, making the case for onshore wind’s ongoing role within the UK’s energy mix. She outlined that the energy industry is undergoing large-scale transformation, with over £100 billion of investment needed by 2020, and that onshore wind has an important role to play in providing low-cost, low- carbon, and secure energy to consumers.
Rhian argued that, having been hit by shifting policy sands which have created uncertainty and impacted on investor confidence, the industry now needs certainty and pragmatism in order to meet its full potential. Now we need to be looking to the future to get the industry back on track as the UK reaches for stretching carbon targets in the coming years. To ensure its future, she set out a three-pronged approach that is needed by both business and government.
Firstly government needs to establish a long-term policy outlook and a stable policy framework. Specifically, the energy industry as a whole needs answers about the future of the Levy Control Framework beyond 2020, and wants to see a clear and credible pathway to the recently legislated Fifth Carbon Budget which commits the UK to a 57% reduction, in line with the Committee on Climate Change recommendations.
Secondly, industry and government must work together towards a practical policy solution which will allow onshore wind to compete with other technologies within the Contracts for Difference scheme, and be built where local communities want it. Onshore wind, with its low costs, could be supported through the Contracts for Difference regime at an equivalent cost to new gas build.
Finally, industry needs to be leading the way. Whilst costs for onshore wind continue to fall, and public support rises, the industry cannot be complacent, and needs to continue to demonstrate its value within the energy mix, and make the case for its role in the economy more broadly.
Rhian concluded by saying that she was optimistic about the future of the onshore wind industry – having faced challenges in the past, it can overcome further bumps in the road and fulfil its potential in the UK economy.
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