ScottishPower Renewables chief executive Lindsay McQuade has called for a “forward-looking” and “cohesive” wind policy approach to support UK wind.
Speaking at the start of UK Wind Week 2020, she said ‘that while many of the building blocks are in place” a joined-up approach was needed “across planning, grid, supply chain and energy policy”. She said that would “help us deliver the outcomes that will benefit the environment, aid the transition to green transport and heating, and support the economy by catalysing investment, creating green jobs, and firmly marking out the UK’s position as a global leader in wind”.
“Action now will make a real difference – not just in the long-term, but in the here and now – as we work to achieve a resilient, green and sustainable economic recovery that will help us meet net zero,” she added.
McQuade said the week was a chance to “celebrate the fabulous natural resource we have in Great Britain and its central role in shaping a low-carbon energy system” that could help deliver a green recovery and support ambitious climate targets towards net zero.
She said increasing renewables to support an “all-electric future” was central to these targets, adding: “while that may sound straightforward, in practice it means quadrupling generation from renewable sources output across the UK in the coming decades, with wind generation doing the heavy lifting”.
Onshore, offshore and floating wind each presented significant opportunities “the length and breadth of the country”, she added.
Onshore is the lowest cost and most proven “means of delivering rapid decarbonisation at scale” within investment in it making “perfect sense” and delivering jobs and community benefits.
“The onshore wind farms ScottishPower will be investing in will be cutting-edge – embracing innovative solutions and the latest technologies to allow hybridisation with solar PV and battery storage, so that green energy will produce electricity and also have an effective role in supporting a resilient and flexible electricity grid system.”
She said that would allow use of natural resources and existing grid connections to be optimised, generation maximised, and deliver cost-effective electricity, and highlighted SPR’s plans to invest over £3.7bn in the five years to 2025, doubling its renewables capacity.
She added: “This includes construction of around 2.1GW of innovative onshore wind, solar PV and battery storage projects across the UK, some of which will be hybrid ‘energy parks’, as well as developing our plans for a 3.1GW offshore East Anglia Hub.
“A further 3GW of onshore projects are also being progressed as part of our pipeline beyond 2025.”
She said: “We estimate it will support more than 7000 jobs in a range of occupations – we will need technicians, project managers, engineers, analysts, lawyers, and even ecologists to make this happen.
“The range of career opportunities presented by investing in wind generation is exciting and inspiring for those considering how they want to make a contribution to a better future, quicker.
“With billions of pounds of investment supporting an extensive supply chain, creating thousands of jobs, and delivering economic and social benefits to local people, businesses and communities, the UK needs to grasp the opportunity and work to establish the policies and frameworks from which these outcomes can be achieved – all with the goal of Net Zero in mind.”