There has been a lack of new applications for onshore wind projects in England, causing a delay in their progress.
There have been no new requests for onshore wind farm permits in England since the government relaxed planning regulations earlier this year. This suggests that Rishi Sunak’s shift towards anti-environment policies is leading to investments being made outside of the country.
This year, England has only seen one new project with a single turbine become fully operational, while the EU, Scotland, and Wales have seen many more projects being built. This is surprising considering that renewable energy is widely regarded as the cleanest and safest source of power and has strong public backing.
According to RenewableUK, there has been a lack of applications to local authorities since Michael Gove and Claire Coutinho implemented adjustments to planning regulations in September. These changes were meant to encourage investment in onshore wind, but no progress has been seen so far. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has provided data on this matter.
There has been a decrease in the development of onshore wind projects in England, while there has been a significant rise in investment in Germany, France, and Sweden.
The failure to receive any bids for offshore wind project licenses in the recent auction has caused increased concern among Whitehall officials. This is due to the fact that the energy price cap set by the government was deemed too low, making it unappealing for companies to participate.
According to sources, government officials will soon unveil a revised pricing system in hopes of generating more investment in the industry before it’s too late. This news has caused concern and anxiety among staff and advisors, both current and former, who believe that recent government statements concerning environmental goals have negatively impacted companies’ investment decisions.
During the recent speech from the king, the government revealed a new energy bill that includes proposals for an annual system of oil and gas licenses, despite the UK’s pledge to achieve net zero goals. This decision has sparked anger from environmental advocates. Coutinho stated that increasing oil and gas production may not necessarily result in lower bills.
Sam Richards, a previous climate and energy consultant for the British government, who currently leads Britain Remade, a movement advocating for economic progress, expressed concern over the recent government discourse opposing environmental initiatives. This could potentially harm the UK’s position as a leader in the development of a green industrial revolution.
The speaker expressed concern that the government’s conflicting communication with the industry regarding the transition to net zero could result in missed opportunities for lower energy costs and job creation in building future industries in Britain.
According to James Robottom, who leads the policy team at RenewableUK, an organization representing approximately 500 companies in the industry, other nations are making greater efforts to capitalize on opportunities. He noted that the US and the EU are providing unparalleled financial incentives to developers of renewable energy. There is intense competition on a global scale to attract private investments in clean energy projects, as other countries strive to entice developers away from the UK to work in their own territories.
He stated that the minor adjustments made by the government to the planning system will not result in a substantial rise in the construction of new onshore wind farms in England. Onshore wind still faces unique restrictions compared to other forms of infrastructure, despite widespread bipartisan support to lift the de facto ban. This is causing hesitation among potential investors. It also means that local communities who are in favor of onshore wind are being deprived of the opportunity to access affordable and environmentally-friendly energy.
In 2015, the government altered planning regulations to allow residents to prevent the development of onshore wind farms in their communities. This resulted in 158 new onshore projects with 228 turbines being constructed in England. However, by the following year, only two projects with four turbines were completed in England.
Ed Miliband, Labour spokesperson for energy security and net zero, said: “The British people are paying the price of this government’s dogmatic, ideological and self-defeating opposition to home-grown clean power – in higher bills, energy insecurity and failure on climate.
The Conservatives introduced a bill on energy that will not lower bills. Their claimed lifting of the ban on onshore wind does not have any impact, and it is causing families to pay an additional £180 each year on their bills.
The government announced that significant advancements were being made throughout the entire UK, not just in England. They also stated that the previous Contracts for Difference round had the highest number of renewable projects, including onshore wind projects, that were successfully completed.
The simplified National Planning Policy Framework strives to facilitate and expedite the development of onshore wind projects with the backing of the local community.