RenewableUK has launched a new Onshore Wind Prospectus setting out pathway­ for industry and government to work together to reach net zero emissions ensuring maximum benefits and lowest costs for bill payers.

Doubling the UK’s onshore wind capacity by 2030 would reduce consumer bills by £16.3 billion over the course of this decade.

Northern Ireland’s capacity would be raised to 2.5GW from current level of 1.3GW, saving £25 per household annually.  This would generate £2 billion of economic activity and create 1,000 full-time jobs in the onshore wind industry including the supply chain.

Throughout the UK a further 23,000 jobs would be created operating wind farms over the course of their twenty-five year lifespan.

Head of RenewableNI, Steven Agnew, said:

“As COP26 approaches and we wait for the new energy strategy, we’re calling for ambitious targets to be set to double the NI’s current onshore wind capacity by 2030, the volume we need to stay on course for net zero.
“Doing so will require investment in our grid, annual auctions for contracts to generate clean power and reforming the planning system.”

To meet Climate Change Committee advise, the Northern Ireland Executive needs to set a target of 1.1GW of new development by 2030, and to set a planning framework to enable this, utilising the current planning review.

In a poll conducted for the Prospectus, 72% of NI people want the UK Government to set a long-term target for wind energy ahead of COP26.

The poll also showed 78% of people in Northern Ireland support the NI Energy Strategy to reach 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

Speaking about targets set in the Prospectus, Steven Agnew continued:

“Survation found onshore wind enjoys a high level of public support.  Three quarters of the public agree the Government should work pro-actively with the onshore wind industry to boost jobs and local business opportunities in onshore wind.  Our members want to work closely with ministers on a strategy to build new local supply chains.
“The planning system in Northern Ireland has one of the longest lead times in the UK – twice as long as in England – and restrictive Local Development Plans are limiting use of modern more powerful turbines. It must also reform Northern Ireland’s utility regulator to prioritise net zero in grid infrastructure development.
“These actions will unlock the vast economic and environmental opportunities that onshore wind offers. By maximising the benefits of onshore wind, the UK can set a great example to the rest of the world at COP26 in Glasgow, the most important international climate change summit for years”.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  1. A copy of The Onshore Wind Industry Prospectus is available to read on RenewableNI’s website here.
    All other reports, including the consultation document for the Department for the Economy’s Energy Strategy, are available at RenewableNI.com/policy
  2. RenewableNI, and parent company RenewableUK’smembers are building our future energy system, powered by clean electricity. We bring them together to deliver that future faster; a future which is better for industry, billpayers, and the environment. We support over 400 member companies to ensure increasing amounts of renewable electricity are deployed across the UK and to access export markets all over the world. Our members are business leaders, technology innovators, and expert thinkers from right across industry.
  3. 2,030 people took part in the fully-weighted poll by Survation which was conducted in July.
  4. The polling results tally with Government’s opinion polls published in May (BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker – Wave 37) which show that 70% of people support onshore wind.
  5. Further polling by YouGov commissioned by RenewableUK published in May shows that 33% of people have a more positive opinion of onshore wind then they did five years ago. This is stronger amongst Conservative voters, 36% of which feel more positive, as well as people over 65 (37%), 18 to 24 year olds (36%) and those who live within five miles of a windfarm (40%).