Industry group RenewableUK has called on the UK government to double the country's onshore wind capacity to 30 GW by 2030 to help decarbonize the power sector and drive down energy costs.
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Such a move would help the government meet its recent pledge to decarbonize the electricity sector completely by 2035, and reduce consumer bills by GBP16.3 billion ($22.2 billion) by 2030, RenewableUK said Oct. 13.
Onshore wind is one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity, Matthieu Hue, CEO of EDF Renewables and chair of RenewableUK's Onshore Wind Steering Group, said.
"Onshore wind will reduce energy bills for consumers who are being hit hard by massive increases in gas prices," Hue said.
S&P Global Platts assessed the UK NBP day-ahead gas price on Oct. 12 at 206 p/th ($28.0/MMBtu), down from a peak of 278 p/th on Oct. 5, but up from 29.5 p/th a year ago.
Installing the 30 GW of onshore wind would save around 6 million mt/year of CO2 emissions, RenewableUK said.
The UK is granting consent less than half the annual capacity needed to achieve net zero by 2050 goals, averaging just over 600 MW, when 1.25 GW/y is required, it said.
Scotland could account for around three-quarters of new capacity additions this decade, it said.
UK onshore wind targets (GW)
Supply crunch solution
The trade association's Onshore Wind Industry Prospectus also noted the role onshore wind could play in producing renewable hydrogen.
"Green hydrogen capacity in the UK could reach 5 GW by 2030 and onshore wind can support 1.7 GW of this by the end of the decade," it said.
The call comes after a report published Oct. 12 pointed to renewable hydrogen's potential to avoid future winter energy supply crunches.
Renewable hydrogen, produced by electrolysis of water powered by wind and solar, could be stored in disused oil and gas fields at times of high generation and low demand, for use in seasonally strong demand periods, a report from the Energy Networks Association said.
The ENA report, "A system for all seasons", found the UK's wind and solar installations had sufficient spare capacity to produce 60-80 GW of renewable hydrogen between May and October each year by 2050.
Such production would create a "clean energy buffer" to avoid reliance on volatile international energy markets, it said.
Production and use of renewable hydrogen could reduce the number of wind farms needed in 2050 by over 75%, through efficient use of generating assets, the report said.
"Running the energy system this way will reduce the need for the total electricity generating capacity of UK wind farms from 500-600 GW by 2050 down to 140-190 GW," ENA said.
The report said the UK had enough capacity to store the hydrogen produced in salt caverns and disused oil and gas fields in the North Sea and elsewhere.
RenewableUK also called on the government to reform energy regulator Ofgem to change its remit to include the need to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050.