Renewable energy means an energy that has been made using a natural resource which does not run out and does not produce greenhouse gases, such as wind, sun and water. Recently there have been discussions about which form of renewable is the cheaper way to make green energy.
Caroline Lucas has stated that onshore wind is the cheapest way to generate energy. Looking at the figures, it would seem there are number to back up her claim. Onshore wind costs £63 a megawatt hour compared to other resources, such as offshore wind which costs £106 per mwh, and solar listed at £66 per mwh. Onshore wind it is currently the cheapest renewable source listed.
Scottish Power also made their own claims after research into onshore wind power. They claim it is also the cheapest form of electricity generation available. And renewable green energy in the UK has risen year on year. It was at 24.5% in 2016 rising to 29,3% by 2017.
Onshore wind capacity has grown, but recently the growth has been hampered due to onshore wind projects being banned from receiving government money. It is thought that the government is trying to stop the development of onshore wind due to complaints from local people believing onshore wind farms are unsightly. However, recent studies have shown that attitudes may be changing, and onshore wind has gained more support.
The government has since backed offshore wind power which has increasingly come down in price thanks to a government scheme which allows companies to bid for government money for the projects and receive a minimum price for power generated and sold. With offshore wind prioritised, we saw only 1 onshore wind farm built in 2017.
Onshore wind brings many benefits to communities – cheap energy prices, jobs and community ownership schemes. It seems such a shame that the government are not behind onshore wind. A BEIS spokesperson said:
“The Government does not believe that new large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, but it could be right for other areas, where local public support exists.”
The government has been heavily criticized for cutting out the cheapest, and one of the most effective sources of clean energy the UK has to offer, with a poll in 2018 showing that two thirds of people do not support the government policies relating to new onshore projects. Surely the government needs onshore wind to meet its climate change targets?
The future for onshore wind is uncertain. Projects may go ahead in remote locations but generally it seems more expensive options will be favoured in the UK.