Wind Industry Hails “New Era of Development” as Deployment and Investment Surge
Nov 06 2012
The wind industry is aiming to supply 1 in 10 homes by 2015, which would mean it would be the second highest power source in the UK behind natural gas by 2020. These projections have come from RenewableUK in their State of the Industry report and has stemmed from a year that has broken all records for wind power.
From June 2011 to Sep 2012, the UK’s wind energy capacity grew by a quarter (1,825MW), with newly installed wind turbines generating new electricity across the UK.
The UK also saw a growth in the number of onshore wind capacity being approved at local level and decision times being 10% quicker than last year. This suggests that developers, communities and local government are working together better than ever before. This is demonstrated most significantly in England, where approved capacity at local level (i.e. for schemes below 50MW) increased from 25% in 2010/11 to 40% in 2011/12. In the UK, a record 1,701MW were consented onshore this year, compared to 1,142MW last year – a leap of nearly 50%. Offshore, 1,357MW were approved between July 2011 and July 2012.
RenewableUK Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said: “We have taken significant strides forward – the evidence is laid out clearly in our State of the Industry report. 2011-12 saw overall capital investment in the offshore wind industry rise by 60% to £1.5bn and a record amount of onshore wind capacity approved. These strong figures underline the importance of a secure trading climate to attract investment, especially in difficult times. That’s why it’s so important that the framework provided by the Energy Bill, currently under parliamentary scrutiny, must be right. Although we still have a long way to go to meet our challenging targets, we are firmly on track and gathering momentum”.
During the last quarter of 2011, green energy reached over 10% of the proportion of electricity created in the UK, the highest proportion ever. The majority of this was contributed by wind energy, which provided up to 7% of the energy. This takes the UK closer to their target of 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Under current rates of progress the UK will have 13.5GW of wind capacity in operation (onshore and offshore) by the end of 2014, delivering 35TWh per year. The year on year figures are even stronger than previous years, with the industry’s current installed capacity standing at 7.4GW. This is more than 8 times as much capacity as the UK had installed in 2004, with much of the growth coming at a time when the economy has been shrinking overall.
The UK supply chain is reaping the benefits of a new era of development with firms of all sizes up and down the UK, from Orpington to Hartlepool, taking advantage of the domestic market as well as exporting to major European turbine manufacturers. To demonstrate the broad range of firms involved, this year’s State of the Industry Report includes examples of more than 75 companies around the UK in a Supply Chain Map.
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