New legislation could accelerate UK onshore wind
GlobalData believes that removing the ban on subsidies for onshore wind farms could lead to a breakthrough in UK CO2 mitigation targets.
Announcing its conclusion via a press release, the data and analytics company indicated that, after an initial spike in installed onshore wind capacity following the 2015 ban, the number of new wind farms declined rapidly to pre-ban levels.
The change was a significant 1.79GW in 2017 to 0.99GW in 2018, indicating an aversion to the UK market or lack of incentive.
However, with the UK Government’s target of net-zero carbon by 2050 likely to be a challenge, any advantage that can be gained from repealing stifling legislation to a key source of renewable energy could supercharge the country’s progress.
Breathing vitality into the market
With the removal of the ban on subsidies, onshore wind companies will be able to bid in Contract for Difference (CfD) auctions, which are also available for other renewable options: solar, nuclear and offshore wind.
Speaking about this more level playing field, Bhavana Sri Pullagura, Power Analyst at GlobalData believed that this development is a significant shift.
“The next CfD auction is scheduled to be held in 2021, and allowing onshore wind to compete for long-term contracts will only improve the viability of upcoming projects and renew investor confidence.
“Since early last decade, several iterations of subsidy revisions have hindered the market, leading to a decline in annual capacity commissioned.
“By removing supportive market structures for onshore wind, the UK risked preventing significant proliferation of the technology; compromising its push to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.
Onshore wind: one of the best options available?
In 2017, onshore wind accounted for 9% of the country’s power requirements in 2017, yet in 2019 it was reported that the number of new wind farm projects had shrunk to 23 (down from an all-time high of 405 in 2014, one year prior to the subsidy ban).
The change in legislation could lead to the reevaluation of onshore wind itself. According to Renewable UK, onshore is the “most cost-effective choice for new electricity in the UK, bar none - it is cheaper than gas, nuclear, coal”.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.