By 2010, the onshore wind industry will generate 50% more than previously predicted with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW, almost 5% of UK electricity supply, concludes new research published by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA).
The report Onshore Wind: Powering Ahead, looks at how much wind energy is confirmed by 2010, from projects already operational, under construction or approved and takes into account potential barriers such as the planning process, decision-making and grid capability.
Combined with currently operating capacity and existing consents, a total of 3,000 MW is already confirmed for delivery by 2010, the report says, identifying a further 3,000 MW which is forecast to be consented and built by 2010.
This scale of development, says the study, is expected to generate at least £4.2 billion ($7.2 billion) from investment in the wind industry and contributions to business rates, local communities and landowners by 2020, much of which is expected to come from projects in Scotland, which benefits from the best wind resource. Indeed, Scotland could contribute 3,300 MW over the next five years, England could contribute more than 1,770 MW, Wales could contribute 505 MW and Northern Ireland could contribute 543 MW, says the study.
Chris Tomlinson, BWEA’s head of onshore, said: “Wind is already firmly established as part of the UK’s energy mix and its continued expansion must be fully recognised in the government’s energy review.” However, although 2006 is a record year for the UK wind industry with 665 MW scheduled for completion by year end, the BWEA is nonetheless calling on the government to maintain a positive approach to planning policy and urgently address delays to planning decisions which are spiralling towards three years, particularly in Scotland.
The report came just ahead of a similar study examining offshore wind capacity in the UK, which shows that offshore wind can meet 6% of power needs by 2015. However, offshore developments are in danger of stalling without additional government support, the report says.
The BWEA, together with Renewables East, released the report Offshore Wind: At a Crossroads, which shows that without additional support for the sector only 2,000 MW of offshore wind capacity will be installed in UK waters by 2015. The study suggests that just 25% of possible developments over the next decade will be developed due to the costs of developing offshore wind and the revenues available to developers through the current Renewables Obligation.
However, with additional financial support some 8,000 MW of offshore wind capacity could be developed by 2015, the study finds.