The Rt Hon Claire Perry MP Minister of State
Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1 Victoria Street London
5th December 2017
Dear Minister of State,
We strongly welcome your recent comments to the Beis select committee indicating government support for onshore wind. We are writing today to ask that you make a public commitment in the upcoming Spring Statement to bring forward an auction for onshore wind, so that it can be built across the UK.
Onshore wind is the cheapest form of new electricity generation that can be built in the UK. This means it is a crucial part of bringing down the cost of energy bills, while also decarbonising our energy system and meeting carbon budget targets.
The government’s support for offshore wind has seen the cost more than halve over the last two years - with two projects delivering at £57.50 per megawatt hour (MWh) in the recent Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction. If the government were to offer similar support to onshore wind, new low carbon power would be even cheaper. A recent auction for onshore wind in Germany set a strike price of just £33.00, which is lower than the UK wholesale price for electricity. These figures compare to Hinkley at £92.50 and new gas at around £66.00 per MWh.
Onshore wind is also hugely popular across the UK, with public support now at an all-time high of 74%. A recent 10:10 commissioned YouGov poll found that 65% of the public would be happy to live within five miles of a wind project, rising to 69% when the project is community-owned. This support is consistent across voting intention, with 57% of Conservative voters happy to live near an onshore wind project, rising to 63% for a community-owned project. Contrary to common assumptions, the polling also shows that onshore wind projects are more popular in England than in Scotland, with 70% of people in the south of England (excluding London) happy to live within five miles of wind turbines.
Given its ambition of achieving the lowest energy bills in Europe, we are concerned that the government is missing a huge opportunity by preventing new onshore wind in the UK - the windiest country in Europe. It is also stymying a technology that enjoys overwhelming public support.
We have been greatly encouraged by the Minister’s comments on this issue since coming into office. We now ask that the Minister commits to building new onshore wind projects in the Spring Statement.
Director of strategy
10:10 climate action
Please add your name and join us in calling on the minister to bring back onshore wind.