Onshore wind generated in West Lothian and Falkirk
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reduced plans to boost onshore wind farms – which generate hundreds of gigawatt-hours of electricity every year locally – in his strategy to ensure the nation's energy security.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy figures show West Lothian produced 271 gigawatt-hours of electricity through its 33 onshore wind turbines in 2020. This was up from 230 GWh in 2019 and the highest amount generated since 2014, when records began.
Falkirk produced 110 gigawatt-hours of electricity through its 21 onshore wind turbines in 2020, up from 96 GWh the year prior and also the highest amount generated since records began.
Among three recorded renewable energy sources, onshore wind ranked first in both areas.
The Government’s energy strategy aims to boost new nuclear power, offshore wind and hydrogen, but stops short of increasing onshore wind capacity.
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Mr Johnson said onshore wind farms are controversial because of their visual impact, saying they "will have a very high bar to clear", but is targeting 50 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, up from previous commitments of 40.
“Wholesale changes” to planning regulations for onshore wind will not be introduced, the Government said, but it will instead consult with communities who wish to host the infrastructure in return for lower energy bills.
Separate national figures, which cover the latest calendar year, show the UK had 14.5 GW of onshore wind power capacity at the end of 2021, but generated less energy than in 2020 – from 34.7 GWh down to 29 GWh.
It also had 11.3 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity at the end of 2021, up from 10.4 the year before and more than six times as much as a decade ago.
Overall, the UK generated 121,000 GWh of renewable energy in 2021.
RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail and Ana Musat, head of policy at Aldersgate Group, a non-profit alliance of business leaders lobbying for a sustainable economy, urged the Government to reconsider changing onshore wind farm planning rules. Adding: "We need to make use of every tool in the box to boost our energy independence."