'Windrush' as industry hails 'routemap for green energy revolution'
The UK wind industry gave an enthusiastic welcome to today’s publication of the Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) by Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The ambitious target of generating 15% of all the UK’s energy from renewables by 2020 means that 35-40% of electricity will have to come from green sources. The lion’s share of those renewables will have to be wind, some 33GW of capacity, delivering over £60billion of investment and creating 160,000 green collar jobs.
Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive said "The measures outlined today could transform the UK’s energy supply, with wind leading the way. This could be a routemap for a green energy revolution" However, she added "Time is running out to take real action on climate change and to plug the UK’s looming energy gap – only swift action to unblock the planning regime and fix the grid will allow us to reach the targets on time."
BWEA welcomes the series of measures in the RES designed to tackle the issues that are currently threatening to prevent the needed expansion of large scale wind energy generation. Specifically the RES proposes to:
Introduce new binding regional targets for the delivery of local renewable energy schemes.
- Initiate action to upgrade the ageing national grid network to allow for the speedy connection of new wind farms.
- Extend the life of the Renewables Obligation, the support system that guarantees a long term market for renewable energy.
- Support measures to resolve a range of aviation issues currently holding up determinations of wind farm applications in the planning system.
The strategy will provide fresh impetus to the industry’s investment plans, with 19GW worth of schemes already in the system at one stage or another of development, including nearly 7GW either already approved or actually under construction. Industry analysis of wind schemes already within the system shows that by 2013 installed wind capacity should overtake installed nuclear capacity in the UK with over 8.5GW operational. By 2015 there will be 6GW of wind operational offshore alone. From 2015 onwards the next generation of offshore wind farms will start to become operational delivering up to 20GW of offshore wind schemes by 2020.
The strategy also highlighted the economic potential of expanded wind power, with a new Government study accompanying the strategy indicating that 160,000 new green collar manufacturing jobs would be created by having 33GW of offshore wind.
McCaffery commented "Government and industry now need to work together to ensure that the majority of these new jobs are based in the UK."
She added "getting this strategy has been a hard won victory for the wind industry but at last the Government has woken up to the potential represented by renewables. This is a big step forward -" she further commented "The Government is saying ‘Yes to wind’ and we give the strategy a thumbs-up, however words will not be enough – now we have to deliver this strategy with decisive action.