In 2015, then UK prime minister David Cameron blocked any government support for onshore wind farms. Since then, construction of wind farms has plummeted 80% to s level not seen since 2011. According to The Guardian, the Committee on Climate Change — the official policy advisory group for the UK government — has filed a report recently.
It warns that any hope the UK has of meeting its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 will require building at least 1,000 MW of onshore wind every year for the next three decades. In addition, the pace of building offshore wind farms will need to quadruple. Neither is likely to happen without government support to lower the risk factors associated with new wind projects.
The Labour party, Liberal Democrats, Green party, and SNP have all said they are in favor of reinstating support for onshore wind. There is growing evidence that Tory supporters overwhelmingly back the idea as well.
Anticipating a restoration of government support, Scottish Power, an amalgam of the 6 largest utility companies in Scotland, has begun planning for a major expansion of onshore wind projects, The Guardian says. It has identified 100 potential sites for new wind farms that will use a smaller number of more powerful wind turbines. Most of those sites are in Scotland, but a few are in Ireland as well.
Lindsay McQuade, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, tells The Guardian that renewable energy developers must start planning now to have a hope of meeting the target. She said Scottish Power had “a pipeline of energy developments across the UK, particularly in Scotland, where there’s excellent natural resource. Scottish Power is developing an ambitious pipeline of onshore renewables that could deliver investment, create jobs and power our lives in the most economic way possible — if the commitment of net zero is to be a reality, I expect to see support from government to match it,” she says.
McQuade adds there is “broad political consensus to decarbonize our economy as rapidly as possible so that we live and work in a clean, green and sustainable manner. We expect cross-party commitment to deliver a viable route to market for onshore wind, the cheapest form of new electricity generation.”
It is interesting to note how political dogma can easily take priority over preventing a full on climate emergency. In the UK, the US, Brazil, India, China, Australia, and many other countries around the globe, building a sustainable world is subordinated to petty political whims. In the final analysis, humans are the greatest threat to the Earth, not greenhouse gases. While the cost of renewables continues to plummet, the intransigence of politicians who are in thrall to fossil fuel companies increases, put every human being at risk.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.