On 2 March 2020, the UK government made a major U-turn on its renewable electricity policy, lifting the onshore wind ban which has been in place since 2015. This is a landmark decision which will set the UK energy sector on an increasingly positive trajectory towards reaching our long-term net-zero target.
The energy sector has campaigned extensively over the last five years for the onshore wind ban to be lifted and this decision heralds a huge step in the right direction, signalling intent from the government that this is a year of climate action and that the UK is serious about delivering a zero carbon energy sector.
The move is significant and is something the CBI has lobbied for over the last few years, on behalf of members. Working with businesses within the renewables sector, we have targeted government, the civil service, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and research institutes to campaign for onshore wind to be provided a route to market, and be deployed at scale in locations where there is local support.
The CBI’s onshore wind campaigning efforts over the last three years
- We hosted a series of roundtables with members and civil servants and Ministers on the future of renewables, including extensive focus on the importance of onshore wind as part of the energy mix
- Met bilaterally with Ministers and senior officials across Treasury and BEIS compelling that the ban be lifted, not just to signal climate change ambition, but to contribute to the reduction of the consumer bill
- Sent our own letter to the Secretary of State (Greg Clark), in partnership with members calling for the ban to be lifted and a route to market reinstated as soon as possible
- Responded to consultation on the Contracts for Difference auction, renewable provision and infrastructure finance within which onshore wind was referenced repeatedly.
Welcoming the announcement, James Diggle, CBI Head of Energy and Climate Change said:
“New Government proposals that would allow onshore wind and solar to compete again in CfD auctions are extremely welcome. This is something that the CBI has called for to ensure that this decade delivers progress towards our net-zero target for 2050.
“The proposals to extend CfD auctions to 2030 will support a wide range of renewables, including our successful offshore wind sector, by giving businesses the certainty they need to grow and invest.
“This is an important move that will not only make the UK’s journey to net-zero more achievable, but also more affordable for consumers by using the cheapest available technologies that can deliver real benefits to the wider economy.”
Have your say
To facilitate the policy reform needed to allow onshore wind to have a route to market once again, changes are required to the policy framework used to procure low-carbon power - the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction, which BEIS is currently consulting on. To contribute to the CBI’s response to this consultation, please contact Tanisha.Beebee@cbi.org.uk. For more information, please click here.