Renewables investor Thrive Renewables is calling on the government to seize what it has identified as a potential £66.5 billion investment opportunity for onshore renewables, including solar.
This breaks down to £4.75 billion per year, which it said could inject £28.9 billion into the economy by 2035 and save consumers up to £1.5 billion annually.
Its analysis recommends two actions the government should implement “urgently” to help deliver this. Firstly, there should be greater policy stability for the technologies, with Thrive stating that the current market fundamentals have been “skewed by a complicated cocktail of legacy interventions”.
With onshore renewables being the only generation class entirely reliant on selling electricity on the open market, the government must demonstrate “clear support” through long-term, simple energy policies allowing investment decisions to be based on fundamentals, Thrive said.
It went on to detail how certainty is preferable over mechanisms, citing the Contracts for Difference scheme, which it described as price stabilising.
Matthew Clayton, managing director of Thrive Renewables, said that by providing this certainty and creating a “more positive environment for onshore renewables”, the government could unleash “huge private sector investment” and create thousands of jobs, with Thrive finding that 45,000 new jobs could be created. Of these, 22,800 could be created in solar PV.
Secondly, Thrive recommended that the government remove planning blockers for onshore wind, highlighting requirements for onshore wind to be developed within an area designated for wind development by the local authority.
Battery storage this week had a significant planning barrier removed, with secondary legislation passing to allow battery storage to bypass the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project process in Britain.
Thrive also highlighted how repowering existing solar and onshore wind sites could stimulate the expansion of renewables, citing the costs benefits to repowering over building a new asset.
"We don’t need to reinvent the wheel or – in this case – the wind turbine and solar panel. UK renewables have enormous potential that can be unlocked, fast. We already have what we need: abundant natural resources, proven technology, lowest ever costs and the right skills," Clayton added.