In an article for the newspaper the "i" this week there was a discussion about where and how many onshore wind projects will be built if the Government follow through on the recent hints that planning barriers to wind in England will be removed.
Any removal of unwanted barriers to the deployment of renewables is welcome in the context of our Net Zero targets but it is too simplistic to think that relaxing the effective onshore wind restrictions in England will lead to vast amounts of projects coming forward. It is also not helpful that some are suggesting this, as it will undoubtedly raise unwanted concerns at local levels notwithstanding that public sentiment continues to move to more support for renewables deployment.
It is true that as a firm we are handling more client matters relating to new onshore wind in England, but we must all remember that to get projects away is still a challenge. Ultimately only the right sites will win out and that is how it should be.
Developers need to find good wind resourced sites, they need sites that have grid availability which continues to be an every increasing challenge. Turbines have moved on since many of England's wind projects were built, meaning that some sites that may have been suitable years ago (and even some sites that on the face of it look ideal for repowering) are not now and with the size and capacity of new modern turbines there will be new planning and build challenges to overcome as well as getting hold of the turbines from a narrow supply market. It is also important to recognise that no responsible developer goes into a project without going through the proper local consultation and the planning process. When there is talk about removing planning barriers it does not mean that local concerns and the necessary planning process will be or can be, ignored.
Onshore wind is important and appropriate deployment across the UK is welcome and needs to happen.
Onshore wind is the cheapest and quickest form of new generation available, and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week signalled the government plans to reverse an effective ban on that has been in place since 2016.