UK wind power and subsidies

UK onshore wind had a record growth in capacity in 2017, at 2.6GW, making the total onshore capacity at the start of 2018 12.06GW. The previous record as 1.3GW in 2013. This surge was due to a deadline for the exclusion of onshore in the UK from subsidies, which offshore continues to enjoy.

The RenewableUK trade body anticipates growth for the future to fall to well less than 1GW per year. The ban on subsidies for onshore wind is the conservative government’s response to concerns of shires regarding the construction of wind turbines in their electorates. The result will be delays in the consumer receiving cheaper power and in reductions in greenhouse gases.

ScottishPower points out that the subsidies would not result in a net rise in electricity bills for consumers, since the lower price of power would offset them. Npower is owned by Innogy, a German company, and operates 17 onshore windfarms in the UK, and is constructing a further five. CFD (contract for difference) is a type of subsidy contract that Innogy is frustrated at not achieving. Innogy is investigating options for PPAs with big energy consumers and where wind is economically viable at wholesale prices without subsidies.

New renewable energy, 2017

CountryNew RE generation /TWhPopulation /millionRE per capita kWh/cap.
Germany198.182.82393
Spain69.546.711488
UK92.966.04 1407
EU-28673.3512.61313
USA418.9327.171280
Italy68.460.481131
Netherlands17.517.281013
Australia25.225.22999
Japan98.9126.44782
France43.867.35650
Switzerland5.0 8.51588
Poland21.238.43552
China520.21403.5370.1
India96.41324.272.8
Global21527700279.5

Source: bp.com

New RE generation (TWh) by nation, population, per capita /kWh 2017