UK facing substantial onshore wind shortfall

The UK is “significantly off track” to meet the level of onshore wind required to reach its 2050 net zero target, RenewableUK has warned.

On 5 November, it explained the UK has just over 13.5GW of onshore wind installed, helping to offset 14mn tonnes of emissions each year. To hit net zero, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended onshore wind capacity grows by at least 1GW every year, reaching 35GW by 2035. This would require close to 29GW of new capacity having to be installed by 2030.

However, under RenewableUK forecasts, taking into account current trends, capacity is only set to reach 17.8GW by then. Even this is then dependent on 4.5GW of new onshore wind farms being built without government support. RenewableUK called for supportive policies from government, including allowing onshore wind to compete for new Contracts for Difference, as a means of rectifying the shortfall and delivering the capacity needed.

RenewableUK’s Head of Policy and Regulation, Rebecca Williams, said: “Onshore wind is the single largest renewable power source in the UK and you can’t be credible on net zero unless you’re serious about onshore wind. But without new policies, we won’t get anywhere near the levels needed for net zero. Growing our onshore wind capacity in line with the CCC’s recommendation will bring down consumer bills, and secure new investment and jobs in communities across the UK.”