Applications submitted in the UK for renewables jumped from 204 in 2018 to 269 last year

Offshore wind turbine

The appetite amongst investors is increasing for renewables as prices continue to drop (Credit: Flickr/mmatsuura)

Planning applications for renewable energy projects in the UK reached a four-year high in 2019.

According to analysis of government data by energy consultancy PX Group, there was a “growing appetite” amongst energy firms to launch clean energy projects last year as Britain looks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its bid to reach net zero by 2050.

Applications submitted in the UK for renewables rose to 269 in 2019, up from 204 in 2018, 185 in 2017 and 154 in 2016 – ensuring a 75% increase in just three years.

PX Group CEO Geoff Holmes said it was “extremely encouraging” to see the number of renewable projects in the pipeline rise.

“It goes without saying that as more of these projects get off the ground, the faster the UK can get to a point where clean, green sources provide an even greater share of the country’s energy,” he added.

“Of course, there is a lag time between submitting plans to councils and projects becoming fully-operational, so more projects being in the pipeline is not a quick fix.”

 

How the UK reached a four-year high in planning applications for renewable energy projects

As the UK increases its stake in renewables and weans itself off fossil fuels, 48.5% of the country’s energy mix came from clean energy sources in 2019.

The appetite amongst investors is increasing for wind and solar as prices continue to drop – meaning they are a safer long-term investment compared to other forms of energy.

Data recorded by BloombergNEF (BNEF) shows the top 10 nations’ combined overall funding for renewable energy capacity reached $266bn across 2019.

Britain ranked as the fifth-highest investor, coming in behind China, the US, Japan and India.

Election 2019 manifestos energy
Of the planning applications made for renewable projects last year, 90 were for wind technologies – almost double the 47 submissions made in 2018 (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tom Corser)

RenewableUK’s director of strategic communications, Luke Clark, said offshore wind has become a “major success story for the UK” because it has the “best offshore wind speeds in Europe and vast areas of shallow sea bed that makes it easy to install offshore turbines”.

“The government wants us to more than quadruple capacity by 2030, by which time offshore wind will be generating more than one-third of the UK’s entire annual electricity needs,” he added.

“Offshore wind is set to become the backbone of the UK’s modern clean energy system and we’ll maintain our global lead in this technology for years to come.”

Of the planning applications made for renewable projects last year, 90 were for wind technologies – almost double the 47 submissions made in 2018.

According to the National Grid, 2019 saw zero-carbon sources, including wind and solar power generation, supply more energy than fossil fuels for the first time since the industrial revolution —- which reflects the UK’s shift to cleaner, greener power.

Applications for renewables are expected to rise further over the next few years after the government decided to remove its block on subsidising onshore wind projects.

The funding block, implemented five years ago, has led to a decrease in investments for projects on land.

But now, onshore developers will be able to compete for subsidies at auctions against rival clean energy technologies, such as solar power and floating offshore wind developments.