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Wales can triple onshore wind turbine power generation claims prospectus

RenewableUK has recommended that Wales can triple the amount of power it currently generates from onshore wind turbines.

The group has published an Onshore Wind Industry Prospectus detailing how all parts of the UK can maximise the economic benefits of onshore wind for bill payers.

It says Wales should target 3.5GW, up from 1.3GW currently. This is almost the same target as England (3.6GW) despite England being more than six times bigger than Wales.

The target for Scotland is 20.5GW and Northern Ireland 2.5GW.

Onshore wind turbines have previously proved controversial, with communities on Anglesey among those who have campaigned against their proliferation.

But RenewableUK say a survey showed 71% support the development of more onshore wind turbines in Wales.

The prospectus says that doubling the UK’s onshore wind capacity to 30GW by 2030 could:

  • Reduce consumer bills by £16.3 billion in the 2020s
  • Amount to an annual saving of £25 for every household
  • Create 3,000 Welsh jobs and £4.4 billion GVA with Mid and North Wales benefitting most
  • Sustain high levels of Welsh content in designing, building and maintaining onshore wind farms

RenewableUK Cymru’s director Rhys Wyn Jones said: “Onshore wind is central to Wales’ zero carbon future.

“As among the lowest-cost forms of renewable power generation, it can contribute to reducing electricity bills for consumers.

“More significant than any target is the potential economic value and employment that onshore wind can deliver.

“If we view future development as a zero-sum game between Welsh power and UK consumption, we risk paying roulette with both our climate and economic development ambition.

“Considering how other parts of the UK are roaring ahead on zero carbon investment, this is a risk Wales can ill afford.

“But facilitating any additional build out requires investment in our grid, annual auctions for contracts to generate clean power and a sensible planning environment.”

Onshore wind also has a key role to play in producing green hydrogen for a wide range of uses. The prospectus notes renewable hydrogen generated by onshore wind could generate £1.4billion of economic activity and create 1,000 full-time jobs by 2030.

To seize these benefits, the prospectus sets out a wide range of actions for industry, the UK and Welsh governments including:

  • Introducing annual Contract for Difference auctions to stimulate more investment,
  • Expediting a new strategy for grid development in Wales,
  • Reforming Ofgem so that it sharpens its focus on net zero
  • Ensuring older onshore wind farms are replaced with modern, more efficient turbines

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