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CBI: Pragmatism more important than ever for onshore wind

The crucial elements of stability and a long-term outlook are needed in order for the UK’s onshore wind sector to realise its full potential, according to the CBI.

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Speaking at the Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind Conference, Rhian Kelly, Business Environment Director at Britain’s largest business group, will highlight the pivotal role of onshore wind in the UK’s wider energy mix.

On the role of onshore wind in the UK energy mix, Rhian Kelly, CBI Business Environment Director, will say:

“Having steadily grown in capacity, onshore wind now meets over 5% of the UK’s energy needs, saving almost 15 million tonnes of carbon each year. It can support our objectives of decarbonisation, affordability and security of supply as part of a diverse and balanced energy mix across the UK.

“We need to ensure that low-carbon investment is affordable for both households and businesses. And this is where onshore wind plays an absolutely pivotal role. Not only is it already the cheapest form of low-carbon generation, but many take the view that it will be the cheapest form of energy overall by 2020.

“By removing it entirely from the capacity we need to build, we risk taking a more expensive route to meeting our targets – in short, we will be getting less bang for our buck.

“It is all too easy to forget that the UK is still one of the world’s leading wind energy markets, with the onshore industry adding over £900 million to the economy last year. This is something that we should be shouting about and looking to build upon.”

On how onshore wind can fulfil its potential, Rhian Kelly will say:

“Firstly, we need to see a period of enduring stability in energy policy, coupled with a longer-term policy outlook, from Government. Specifically, we need to understand the envelope for the Levy Control Framework beyond 2020, which will be absolutely crucial for building confidence among investors across the board.

“Second is a joint action for Government and industry to work together towards a practical policy solution which will allow onshore wind to compete with other technologies within the Contracts for Difference scheme, and be built where local communities want it.

“Finally, when it comes to public opinion there is no room for complacency – it’s important that the industry continues to demonstrate its value within the energy mix and make the case for its role in the economy more broadly.”

Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables, said: “Renewables are now Scotland’s largest generator of electricity, with onshore wind making up the lion’s share of output.

“There is plenty of scope for further growth - which would be good for the environment and for consumers - but only if government is prepared to create a level playing field and allow onshore wind to compete for long term contracts for power for clean electricity, along with other renewables and nuclear power.”

 

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