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Thousands more turbines could be built to treble onshore wind power  

The fourth change - and the most contentious - is easing planning rules that have effectively banned the construction of new wind farms in England. The current rules require local authorities to name areas for potential wind farm use - which only a small minority have done - and empowers local opponents to slow proposals. The new plans also place an emphasis on expanding onshore wind in Scotland, where the supportive SNP is in government, as well as in Wales.

Credit:  Boris Johnson set to sign off on strategy to improve country's energy independence in wake of Ukraine war and lower spiralling bills | By Ben Riley-Smith, Political Editor | The Telegraph | 1 April 2022 | www.telegraph.co.uk ~~

Thousands more onshore wind turbines could be built in the UK, as officials work up plans to treble capacity as part of the Government’s new energy strategy.

The Telegraph understands officials are drafting plans to reach 30GW of onshore wind capacity by 2030 and 45GW by 2035.

At the moment, the UK has just 15GW of onshore wind capacity. Estimates from RenewableUK suggest that to create an extra 15GW, about 3,700 new turbines would be needed. Reaching 45GW would involve putting up approximately 7,000 more wind turbines, according to industry estimates.

The targets are part of plans privately commissioned by Boris Johnson and Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, in March to explore onshore wind expansion.

The Prime Minister will make a final decision about the proposals next week, as he signs off the strategy to improve the country’s energy independence.

Mr Johnson is determined to improve the UK’s energy production, after vowing to scale back Russian oil and gas imports following the invasion of Ukraine and amid spiralling energy bills.

But moving to accelerate onshore wind would be politically complicated, given fierce past opposition from Cabinet ministers – not to mention from Mr Johnson himself.

The Prime Minister has in the past variously called onshore wind turbines “white satanic mills” and “ludicrous wind farms” which “failed to pull the skin off a rice pudding”.

It is understood the Prime Minister is “conscious” of the concerns some Tories have had about onshore wind farms, suggesting the final decision remains in the balance.

He is publicly supportive of offshore wind farms, but is weighing up energy supply needs and Tory criticism before making a decision about onshore wind turbines.
Planning rules for wind farms could be eased

The Telegraph can reveal new details of the onshore wind drive which is being developed, including four specific proposals aimed at increasing capacity.

Firstly, officials will try to improve how quickly wind farms proposed near Ministry of Defence sites are approved for construction. Proposals can be held up for years while the MoD agrees that radars used by incoming aircraft will not be affected by the turbines’ blades.

They will also work with Ofgem, the energy regulator, to make sure that proposed wind farms can connect quicker to the National Grid. Often, proposed projects are in isolated rural locations and struggle to secure a connection.

Officials will also look into financial incentives to local communities. Some energy companies already offer residents who live near wind farms money off their bills.

The fourth change – and the most contentious – is easing planning rules that have effectively banned the construction of new wind farms in England.

The current rules require local authorities to name areas for potential wind farm use – which only a small minority have done – and empowers local opponents to slow proposals.

The new plans also place an emphasis on expanding onshore wind in Scotland, where the supportive SNP is in government, as well as in Wales.

Other ideas being suggested by the industry include creating a local fuel poverty fund that can help those most in need, or financing insulation of nearby homes to ease energy costs.

The Government is also planning to create what has been dubbed an “onshore wind task force”, including the energy group Octopus and RenewableUK.

In a meeting with wind industry figures on Thursday, Mr Johnson was told it takes one day to construct an onshore wind turbine but as much as 10 years to get approval.

There are some signs public opinion has warmed to onshore wind farms, especially if they lead to discounted energy bills in the nearby area.

Dan McGrail, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: “Onshore wind is the UK’s cheapest source of new power, so it has a crucial role to play in reducing electricity bills, because we can build shovel-ready projects faster than any other source of energy.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We will shortly set out an ambitious plan to supercharge our use of a diverse range of renewables including offshore wind, solar and hydrogen, all underpinned by nuclear, and continued support for our North Sea oil and gas sector. Any decisions on onshore wind will always be subject to consent from local communities.”

Source:  Boris Johnson set to sign off on strategy to improve country's energy independence in wake of Ukraine war and lower spiralling bills | By Ben Riley-Smith, Political Editor | The Telegraph | 1 April 2022 | www.telegraph.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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