The facts on wind don’t lie. Onshore is the lowest cost means of delivering rapid decarbonisation at scale. Onshore and offshore directly support nearly 13,000 jobs between them. And nearly 20% of our electricity came from wind last year.
From an economic and an environmental perspective it makes sense to build more. Twenty years of history shows a clear link between wind farms and the creation of investment, jobs and community benefits.
We think understanding how we got here is important when planning what happens next. That’s why today we’re publishing a new document that does just that.
Powering a Green Recovery: In the Winds of Change is the story of the UK’s wind journey so far. The jobs, the supply chain and the local benefits that onshore, and now offshore too, have created up and down the country.
People living across the UK seem to agree. Support for renewable energy projects stands at 80% and well over 70% want to see more onshore and offshore wind farms built. On a practical level, we have welcomed 750,0000 people through the doors of Whitelee wind farm visitor centre since it opened. There’s a fascination, and an appetite, for wind.
Between 2020-2025, we will invest more than £3.7 billion to increase renewable capacity across the UK. This includes construction of around 2.1 GW of innovative onshore wind, solar PV and battery storage projects to establish hybrid ‘energy parks’ across the UK, as well as developing plans for a 3.1 GW offshore East Anglia Hub. A further 3 GW of onshore projects are also being progressed as part of the pipeline beyond 2025.
Innovation is another part of the next chapter. We’re looking at building hybrid sites, combining wind with solar power and battery storage. Over in Norway, our parent company Iberdrola is trialling floating offshore technology, providing a way to build turbines further and deeper out to sea. Back on dry land, we’re beginning a programme of repowering older sites – replacing the first generation of turbines with modern technology ready for another 20 year stint.
Wind’s moment really has arrived. It’s taken 20 years of hard work, but now, with the right policy support, this technology can become the backbone of Britain’s electricity supply. Please do read In the Winds of Change and let me know what you think.
CEO ScottishPower Renewables