Call for reform
Energy firms lobby Johnson for new generation of rural wind farms
Whitelee wind farm in Scotland
Two Scottish energy firms have launched a campaign to win support from Boris Johnson’s new government for a new generation of onshore wind farms across Britain.
The chief executives of ScottishPower and SSE are pressing Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom to make it easier to build turbines on rural land. They say more wind power is needed to help the country meet its carbon emissions targets and provide the power required for electric vehicles.
Keith Anderson at ScottishPower and Alastair Phillips-Davies at SSE say investment from being held back by current restrictions, though there is bound to be opposition from environmental and wildlife campaigners, particularly if there are plans to build in sensitive areas.
Mr Phillips-Davies has written to Prime Minister Mr Johnson stating that ‘public opinion has moved a long way in a short time’ and pleading for a review of current policy, according to the Mail of Sunday which says recent opinion polls appear to confirm that opposition to wind turbines is fading.
Energy sources said there have been ‘positive signals’ that the Government could be open to reforms. Power firms want onshore windfarms reinstated into a minimum price guarantee for electricity supply to the grid – putting it in line with offshore wind and solar.
A surge in electric vehicle ownership could potentially shut down the National Grid by 2040 if ways are not found to boost our generating capacity, according to research.
Onshore wind costs between £45 and £75 per megawatt hour, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That compares with up to £160 per MWH for offshore wind and £220 per MWH for nuclear power.
Until 2015, the Government offered a guarantee on the minimum price that companies would get for selling onshore wind power to the grid. Firms say the removal of this guarantee has hamstrung efforts to build as many as 1,000 new turbines.