UK to ease onshore wind permitting with new infrastructure reforms
Inverclyde wind farm, Scotland. Image by BayWa r.e. (www.baywa-re.com)
September 26 (Renewables Now) - The UK government has presented measures to spur the deployment of onshore wind energy as part of a plan designed to tackle the soaring inflation and the living and energy crisis.
The Growth Plan, released on Friday, comes with plans for new legislation aimed at "bringing onshore wind planning policy in line with other infrastructure to allow it to be deployed more easily in England".
More specifically, the government will seek to ease the planning rules for approving onshore wind projects and streamline the environmental assessment process – a move seen to help the economic growth and boost the country’s decarbonisation agenda.
In order to address the “slow and too fragmented” planning system, the country intends to lift the effective ban on new onshore wind schemes by putting them on the same footing as other infrastructure projects. This will pave the way for giving large onshore wind projects the go-ahead for the first time in seven years.
The time for awarding Development Consent Orders (DCOs), meanwhile, will be also addressed as it has increased by 65% between 2012 and 2021, with offshore wind farms waiting up to four years to get through the planning process, the government pointed out.
The proposal also includes a list of infrastructure schemes that will move through an accelerated permitting schedule so that the vast majority of them enter construction by end-2023. Among these are five hydrogen and seven offshore wind projects, the full list of which is available in the 42-page plan.
“The current energy crisis has demonstrated just how vital it is to overcome the barriers to infrastructure,” the government said.
The new legislation is planned to be brought forward in the coming months.
The UK aims to lift its installed renewable energy capacity by 15% by 2023, in line with a 2050 net zero plan. At present, the country has 8 GW of offshore wind capacity under construction.
Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.