UK onshore wind faces uncertain future

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25 April 2014, Nuclear, Solar, Wind

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With 22% of support a recent poll placed the Conservative Party behind Labour (30%) and UKIP (27%), meaning its chances of winning an outright victory on May 7, 2015 are slim. However, the proposal is reflective of wider public opinion in the UK.

Onshore wind farms are becoming an increasingly political topic, raising high levels of emotion and strong opinions among the British public. As more wind farms spring up around the countryside unspoilt scenery is becoming even more highly valued, and many people feel that they lose more than they gain from onshore wind farms, which are considered a blight on the landscape.

Even if the Conservative Party is unable to implement its threat of cutting subsidies to new onshore wind farms, the point it has raised will be enough to gain support from strongly opinionated voters. It would not be surprising to see other political parties following a similar agenda, potentially putting an end to new onshore wind farms in the UK within the next term of government.

If this happens, and no new onshore wind farm development is supported in the UK, the industry will not be able to develop new projects as they would be financially unviable without subsidies. The renewable energy framework would have to be reworked and more support would have to be lent to other renewable sectors in order to meet targets. The offshore wind industry would be the likely beneficiary of such a shift, as subsidies are still considered to be too low for many projects.

We have seen how the power of public opinion can change energy industries in Germany, where nuclear power will be phased out by 2022 while utility companies face dwindling profits as a result. Companies must be prepared to adapt to such a shift in support, even if it is not the Conservative Party that brings it about.

www.datamonitorenergy.com / asken@datamonitor.com / @DatamonitorEN

Source: MarketLine

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