Global Wind Day

Opinion: The UK must harness the full potential of wind power

A wind farm on the Portuguese coast in Madeira. Photo credit: WindEurope / Bickley via Flickr.
By Louise Ward, investor relations director, Low Carbon
Following Global Wind Day 2016, Louise Ward from Low Carbon, argues why the UK must harness the full potential of wind power.
Global Wind Day is a worldwide event that takes place on the 15th June every year. It is a day for people to discover wind energy and the potential it has to change our energy systems and contribute towards the move to low carbon economies across the world. The day is coordinated by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), as well as a network of partners. Events are organised across the world, from Argentina to Greece and India.
Last year was a record-breaking year for wind energy in this country, with 11 percent of total electricity being generated by wind power. Moreover, according to The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), renewable energy accounted for 24.7% of total electricity generation in the UK in 2015, which strongly suggests that renewable energy is a core, resilient electricity source that is here to stay.
Results like this reinforce the fact that the UK must continue to create a positive investment climate for renewable energy technologies as an alternative to investments in fossil fuels. Wind farms, in particular, can be an attractive option for those who wish to divest from carbon-heavy technologies, especially in an age of oil and gas volatility.
In light of Global Wind Day, we’d like to see the UK harness the full potential of wind power as a viable energy source for the UK. Partnered with other renewable energy technologies such as solar PV, wind energy can make a significant contribution to changing the UK’s energy mix to become more sustainable, and to help reduce the country’s carbon emissions.
Investment into wind projects make financial sense as well, as they generate electricity all year round and are typically long-term, inflation-linked contracts, generating attractive, stable returns. Investments in the solar and wind sector, for example, are predicted to be the best outperformers (between 0.5% to 3.5% additional annual returns) over the next 35 years.
Coinciding with Global Wind Day, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a new report revealing that the average cost of offshore wind electricity could fall by as much as 35% and 26% for onshore wind by 2025. Wind brought £1.25bn of investment into the UK economy in 2015, and recent figures showed that by 2030 wind energy is set to be Europe’s largest power source.
The potential for wind energy in the UK is undeniable. What needs to be done now is for the UK to make sure that wind becomes an attractive investment option for investors and that we do not fall behind the rest of Europe in terms of harnessing this clean source of energy and diversifying our energy mix.
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