According to new research from the Institute for Public Policy Research, it would take England roughly 4,700 years to build enough onshore windfarms to meet the UK’s energy needs. So far, only 17 windfarms have been approved since 2015. This is after a blanket ban on English onshore windfarms by the UK government.
Promises to remove the ban on onshore windfarms have yet to be put into action. Luke Murphy, associate director at the IPPR, states that England is far from any real development of onshore wind, comparing the time to have the projects completed to “the start of construction of Stonehenge in 2,500BC”. With construction moving at snail’s pace, it is unsurprising that a report published by The Guardian last month showed that even Ukraine, with it’s current economic and social difficulties, had grown it’s onshore windfarm capacity by a hundred times more than England since February 2022.
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Currently, windfarms built in the last 7 years have reached a total capacity of 6.7 megawatts – only 0.02% of the onshore wind needed. This would need to increase to over 40 gigawatts across the UK by 2030 if we are to ever meet our renewable energy needs. This sheer lack of progress is not something that was unavoidable, according to Maya Singer Hobbs, senior research fellow at the IPPR, “None of the failures of the English system are inevitable. The de facto ban on onshore wind, the lack of coherence in environmental regulations and the lack of good quality housing are all solvable by reforming the system.”
Britain’s net zero targets seem all but impossible without some restrictions lifted on onshore wind power. “It’s now six months since the prime minister announced measures aimed at lifting the de facto ban on onshore wind in England”, states James Robottom, head of onshore wind at Renewable UK. He goes on to say, “we’re still waiting for an effective plan of action.” The REI’s Wind Power course will ensure you are fully ready for the lifting of the onshore wind power ban and have all the skills required to implement wind powered energy alternatives.
Some campaigners believe members of the government wish to pressure government ministers to make minor tweaks to the restrictions, continuing the block on English windfarms. Labour’s shadow climate change and net zero secretary, Ed Miliband, highlights the strain this ban is putting on British households, “their ludicrous ban on onshore wind is now costing every family £180 a year in higher bills.” He goes on to say, “Their refusal to tackle delays in the planning system has robbed Britain from having cleaner, cheaper power and left Britain vulnerable.”
Overall, it seems that despite the government stating they are committed to net zero and renewable energies, the reality is that their commitments and actions reflect something different. A spokesperson for the government claimed that renewable energy usages had increased by 500% since 2010 and was open to discussions for wind power where it was deemed to be locally supported. However, when taking into account the timeframes required for completion, the government needs to take drastic action to ensure wind power is implemented in time to help reach net zero emissions.