October 16 (Renewables Now) - The UK National Infrastructure Commission will be looking into whether there are unnecessary barriers to onshore wind, which is one of the cheapest renewable technologies, it said on Friday in its draft assessment of UK infrastructure.
Unlike offshore wind, the UK is not recognising the benefits of onshore wind through access to subsidies, according to the commission. Onshore wind farms have been again excluded from the next round of auctions for contracts for difference (CfDs).
The report, entitled Congestion, Capacity, Carbon: Priorities for National Infrastructure, calls on the UK government to tackle the three Cs -- congestion, capacity and carbon -- to deliver an infrastructure that is fit for the future. The commission, set up in 2015 to provide independent advice to the government, said that the government should take advantage of the falling costs of renewables in electricity generation. According to the report, the significant declines in the costs of renewables and batteries offer an opportunity "to create a low carbon system more cheaply than was thought possible even two or three years ago."
The efforts on the carbon front should also include preparing for electric vehicles (EVs) and facing up to the challenge of eliminating carbon emissions from heating and waste.
"The National Infrastructure Commission is right to examine the exclusion of new onshore wind from the energy mix," commented RenewableUK's executive director Emma Pinchbeck.
"Ministers should take a fresh look at onshore wind as a way to deliver their Clean Growth Strategy and the upcoming Industrial Strategy objectives because it’s the cheapest way to generate power. Onshore wind deserves the freedom to compete against other technologies," she said.
The UK government released its Clean Growth Strategy on Thursday.