A glimmer of hope for onshore wind?

Topic: income Read Time: 2 mins
Landowner type:
Independent landowners | Institutional landowners
Energy: Onshore wind
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Last year on the blog, we looked at what might happen once the government’s feed-in tariff ended in March. A new law set to replace FiTs has received a mixed reception so far, but at a time when the future of onshore wind looks uncertain, could this be the glimmer of hope for small-scale renewable energy generators?

The offshore wind momentum

Despite the knowledge that onshore wind is an inexpensive way to produce electricity, the support for offshore wind seems to keep growing. 

So much so that a new funding pot of £100m to help companies capitalise on the boom in the offshore sectors was recently reported. It comes simultaneously as Theresa May announced that the UK is set to net-zero by 2050. 

Still, onshore wind isn’t going anywhere

In response, the trade body Renewable UK has said that onshore wind needs to be a crucial part of the strategy in achieving this. 

It’s easy to understand frustrations bubbling below the surface from those seeking to create clean energy through onshore wind projects. 

But the introduction of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), a new law that will see small energy producers paid for the excess energy they create that goes back to the grid by their energy companies, could signal good things.

photo of a wind farm

The SEG vs FiTs

The SEG, which covers wind and solar, will apply to any new contracts and be based on the ‘export rate’ alone, whereas FiTs is based on both the export and generator rate. 

The other key difference is that the energy company can set their price rather than using the fixed-rate the government provided previously. 

Critics suggest it’s a backhanded way to reintroduce subsidies for new projects and expand existing ones.

So, is this positive news for onshore wind? 

In short, yes. Small generators are less likely to get as favourable a rate as was available in the past, but any help the sector can get has got to be a good thing. 

But of course, the challenge remains for many companies that would contribute to helping us reach our net-zero 2050 target with subsidy support. And while money continues being pumped into offshore wind, small steps like these don’t go far enough to exploit the benefits of onshore wind.