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Wind Power

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2009, Official Report, columns 896-97W, on wind power, what assessment he has made of the contribution of operational wind turbines towards the Government's renewable energy targets. (250721)

[holding answer 26 January 2009]: The UK has a domestic target of 10 per cent. of our electricity coming from renewable sources by 2010. In 2007, all renewables generated 19,664 GWh of electricity, or 5 per cent. of the UK's electricity.

Of this, onshore wind generated 4,491 GWh. The contribution from onshore wind to overall UK electricity generation was 1.14 per cent.

Offshore wind generated 783 GWh in 2007. The contribution from offshore wind to overall UK generation was 0.2 per cent.

The contribution from onshore and offshore wind to overall UK generation was therefore 1.34 per cent.

Source: AEA Technology/RESTATS.

It should be noted, however, that since this data was collated new projects have gone live in 2008—such as the 194MW Lynn and Inner Dowsing offshore wind farms and the 322MW Whitelee onshore wind farm. Generation data for these sites is not yet available.

With the construction of Lynn and Inner Dowsing, the UK now has 598MW of offshore wind capacity, overtaking Denmark as world leader in this technology. This extra capacity also takes the UK over the 3GW mark of total installed onshore and offshore wind capacity.

We are committed to increasing the use of wind power far beyond 3GW over the next few decades. The step change in the policy and measures necessary to achieve this are already in train or being developed.

The UK Government support the agreement that has been reached between the Council and European Parliament following the Council in December 2008 that 20 per cent. of EU energy consumption should come from renewable energy sources by 2020. In the UK this equates to a 15 per cent. target by 2020.

To meet this target, we consulted on a draft UK Renewable Energy Strategy last summer. We sought stakeholders' views on a wide range of measures, including further development of wind power, to help meet our share of the EU target. We will publish our finalised Renewable Energy Strategy later this year.

We also have a range of measures already in place to bring on more renewables development, including onshore and offshore wind, in order to meet our targets. For example, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in the pre-Budget report that we would be extending the Renewables Obligation (RO) until 2037. This will ensure that investors can plan with confidence for the future so that over the next decade the market will continue to deliver the renewables projects that we need to achieve our 2020 target.

This Department will also be launching an Office for Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED), one of a suite of new low-carbon offices, as a one-stop-shop for business and other stakeholders aimed at removing supply chain barriers to renewables deployment. ORED will also have a strong role to play in tackling other deployment barriers related to grid, planning and raising public awareness.

Other measures include the launch this year of tenders under the Offshore Transmission Regime, to enable more offshore wind power to be connected to the grid. The Transmission Access Review will also enable more onshore wind to get early connection dates.

In summary, we are working across policy areas to increase wind developments: planning, financial incentives, business development and grid infrastructure. These measures will ensure wind power plays a full part in meeting our carbon budgets and energy supply needs in 2020 and beyond.