(Bloomberg) -- Octopus Energy Group found local community support for new onshore wind farms that would be able to power more than 1.8 million homes as pressure builds on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to lift a ban on the clean power technology.
The British energy company uses a platform called Winder that helps match areas where residents want wind farms and locations that have suitable conditions like strong wind speeds and power grid capacity. The latest analysis found community support for at least 2.3 gigawatts of new onshore wind farms.
“It’s possible to build more wind turbines where people want them, helping to end our fossil fuel reliance, lower energy bills and unleash economic growth,” said Zoisa North-Bond, chief executive officer of Octopus Energy Generation.
Local opposition has been at the heart of a Conservative Party policy that’s effectively banned the development of new onshore wind farms in England since 2015. Since then, British wind power growth has been confined to Scotland and sites far out to sea, which require long cables to reach population centers.
Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss repealed the onshore wind ban during her brief premiership. She and her predecessor Boris Johnson joined an effort to amend legislation that would ease current restrictions on onshore wind to allow development where it has support from local populations.
Building onshore wind farms is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to add new electricity generation in Britain. Their expansion will be critical to meeting the UK’s net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. And in a government auction earlier this year, onshore wind farms agreed to sell electricity for less than half the current wholesale power price in Britain, offering relief to the country’s energy crisis that could last years.
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