Onshore wind, now established as a mature and productive technology, is the UK’s largest source of renewable energy generation and, currently, the cheapest large-scale renewable energy source that can be deployed at significant scale. Renewable UK figures put current capacity at over 5,000MW.The recent Royal Academy of Engineering Wind Energy Report estimates that the installed capacity of wind could rise to around 26GW and provide around 20% of electrical energy consumed by 2020.
According to DECC, in 2011 onshore wind: generated enough power for 2.4 million homes; cost just £6 per household electricity bill in terms of subsidies; supported more than 8,600 jobs; saved more carbon emissions than the footprint of a city the size of Leeds.
However, the sector faces a number of key challenges: planning consents vary widely across the UK;funding remains uncertain with concerns over both investment and subsidies and issues over grid-connectivity persist.
More worrying, however, is the apparent lack of political consensus over policy towards onshore wind and indications that the 2015 Conservative manifesto may include a moratorium on wind farms.
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