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Cost of onshore wind has been rising for 20 years

A new analysis from the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals that the cost of onshore wind power has risen by 30% since the introduction of the Renewables Obligation, 20 years ago [1]. 


The analysis, based on audited financial accounts and official generation data, throws into question claims from the wind industry that wind is becoming ever more competitive.

The findings are also another major blow to the government’s Net Zero policy, which will fail without cheap and abundant renewable electricity. 

GWPF deputy director, Andrew Montford, said:

“Onshore wind is 60% dearer than the figure in the Government’s plans for Net Zero, making it a nonsense of claims that it is the cheapest form of electricity generation. We are locking high costs into the economy”

The steady rise in onshore costs is thought to be due to windfarms being sited at progressively worse locations. In other words, the best sites are now all taken.

Earlier analyses have found that offshore wind remains extraordinarily expensive, with at best only a small reduction in recent years [2-4].

Notes

[1] The new report is entitled “The Rising Cost of Onshore Wind” and can be downloaded here (pdf).

[2] Montford, A. Offshore Wind: Cost predictions and cost outcomes. Briefing 52, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 2021.

[3] Aldersey-Williams J et al. Better estimates of LCOE from audited accounts – A new methodology with examples from United Kingdom offshore wind and CCGT. Energy Policy 128 (2019) 25–35.

[4] Hughes G. Wind Power Economics: Rhetoric and reality. Vol. I, Wind Power Costs in the United Kingdom Technical report, The Renewable Energy Foundation, 2020.