Big Rise in Onshore Wind Farm Approvals

Figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change have revealed that 141 onshore wind farms received planning permission in 2013, compared to 83 in 2010 – an increase of two thirds in three years. The number of approved solar installations also rose from just nine in 2010 to 141 in 2013.

So why these large increases, especially when the Prime Minister has said he wants to see fewer onshore wind farms going ahead? According to industry experts, it all boils down to the forthcoming changes in the subsidies paid to energy companies for some types of renewable energy projects.

From March 2017, the amounts paid for onshore wind farms will be cut after the government said that these developments are less expensive to build than previously thought. As a result, developers have submitted a flurry of new applications for approval before the deadline, in an attempt to qualify for the higher subsidy rates.

The rise in approved projects has sparked fears in some quarters that developers haven’t done enough to take the needs and views of local communities into account. Butindustry body Renewable UK disagrees, commenting that: ‘People favour wind energy and onshore developers are taking their responsibilities seriously in terms of consulting with the local community(and) carrying out environmental assessments.’

Wilding says: Onshore wind turbines now produce more than 5% of electricity in the UK, making them a significant and valuable part of the generation mix.And whilst some local communities don’t want onshore wind farms, others will be pleased to take advantage of the economic and employment benefits that new developments bring.’

Source: The Telegraph