Skip to main content

Onshore Wind Farms

Volume 515: debated on Thursday 16 September 2010

7. Whether historical wind measurements are taken into account in determining subsidy allocation for onshore wind farms. (15500)

Onshore wind farms can claim one renewables obligation certificate for each megawatt-hour of electricity actually generated, which focuses investment in those areas where the wind resource is strongest. It is therefore in the developers’ direct interest to study very carefully the historical wind measurements.

As my hon. Friend is no doubt aware, Leicestershire is one of the most inland and least windy counties in England. Will he please assure me that subsidies for wind farms will only be allocated in areas that can demonstrate that the amount of wind is sustainable and economically viable?

I can absolutely assure my hon. Friend that the way the ROC system works ensures that the greatest incentive is there to develop wind projects where the wind resource is strongest. We are absolutely committed, too, to the principle of localism for those below 50 MW and for local communities to be directly involved in these decisions and to receive a more direct benefit than was the case under the previous Government.

How much onshore wind generation does the Minister calculate is needed for the United Kingdom to meet its 2020 renewable energy target?

We recognise that onshore wind is one critical element of the process. We set out in the 2050 pathways, which were mentioned earlier, a number of different options. Offshore wind is going to be critical, as is biomass. We want a range of renewable technologies to come forward to help us meet the 2020 targets, and the policies that we are putting in place are designed to drive forward investment in those sectors.