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Onshore wind is back on the agenda

GroundsureBy Legal Futures’ Associates Groundsure [1]

For the last four years there has been an effective ban on onshore wind.

Now the government have published the detail [2] of the proposed changes to the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, it’s clear that one barrier to onshore wind is likely to be removed (the subsidy issue). Larger scale wind developments have not been eligible for subsidies since April 2016, a move which contributed to an effective moratorium on onshore wind development [3].

However, two other significant barriers remain [4]. One is ‘community approval’, which means that any wind developments have to have the backing of the local community or they can’t go ahead. What constitutes official ‘community approval’ is down to individual local authorities. The process for obtaining community approval is part of this consultation, and proposes renewable project developers should consider the following [5]:

The other barrier is that wind developments can only take place in an area which has already been designated in the local plan as a potential wind energy site. A minority of local authorities have designated areas in their current iterations of the local plan (partly because of subsidy/community barriers). Until authorities revamp these plans, we’re unlikely to see an explosion in onshore wind in the very short term, but it’s clear that if the UK is going to meet its Net Zero targets by 2050, there is going to have to be a greater effort on the side of communities, local authorities and developers to accelerate onshore wind development.

The CfD scheme consultation runs until 22nd May, and the scheme is scheduled to open in 2021.

How can Groundsure help?

Groundsure Energy and Transportation report [6] provides a comprehensive search of existing and planned energy infrastructure.