Wind turbines – a stick and carrot approach

Review highlights major role for renewables in meeting UK climate targets The Committee on Climate Change said today (9th May) in a 166 page report, that renewable energy should make a major contribution to decarbonising theUK economy over the next decades.

The executive summary, only 30 pages, has some worrying comments for those wish to resist the march of the wind turbine across the British landscape.  However, it does also suggest that those communities that do accept (suffer) them, should be able to benefit financially. 

Page 28

The planning framework for onshore wind and transmission

Planning approval rates for onshore wind projects have historically been low (e.g. less than 50%), and the period for approval long (e.g. almost two years). This reflects an implicit social preference for investment in more expensive renewable technologies, given concerns (held by some but not all people) about the visual impact of onshore wind developments.

However, further approvals will be required in order to deliver the onshore wind ambition in the Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy.

Additional approvals beyond this level offer scope for reducing the cost of meeting the 2020 renewable energy target and the cost of power sector decarbonisation through the 2020s (e.g. our analysis suggests scope to add over 6 GW of onshore wind capacity through the 2020s).

In addition, planning approval will be required for transmission investments to support increased renewable generation and sector decarbonisation. International experience suggests that approaches which achieve community buy-in to onshore wind projects through sharing financial benefits have helped support high levels of investment; it is appropriate that such approaches will be tested in theUK.

However, even with such approaches, there is a significant risk that onshore wind and transmission investments will not gain local public support, given high levels of resistance from some groups.

Achieving higher rates of approval for onshore wind projects and for required investments in the transmission network is therefore likely to require central government decisions in line with national priorities as defined by carbon budgets, possibly under new planning legislation that explicitly sets this out.

If you would like to read the whole thing for yourself, here is the link http://hmccc.s3.amazonaws.com/Renewables%20Review/Executive%20summary.pdf

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