Scottish Government urged to increase onshore wind power as survey shows support

Holyrood ministers are being urged to set a target of more than double the amount of capacity at onshore wind farms by the end of this decade.

Industry body RenewableUK made the plea as it published the findings of new polling showing Scots “overwhelmingly support” political parties which give their full backing to renewable power generation.

Scotland can currently produce 8.65 gigawatts (GW) of power from onshore wind.

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RenewableUK wants the Scottish Government to set the target of installing a further 12GW of capacity by 2030 – taking total installed capacity to more than 20GW.

Scotland has Europe's largest windfarm, Whitelee, near Eaglesham in East Renfrewshire.Scotland has Europe's largest windfarm, Whitelee, near Eaglesham in East Renfrewshire.
Scotland has Europe's largest windfarm, Whitelee, near Eaglesham in East Renfrewshire.

As it made the plea, chief executive Dan McGrail said: “Building new onshore wind projects is also one of the cheapest ways to generate new power, so in the long term these projects will also help to reduce the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels, including volatile international gas prices.”

RenewableUK also said action was needed to “unblock the pipeline” of projects that it said were held up in the planning system.

Developments that would be capable of generating 4.8GW are awaiting planning permission, research by RenewableUK found – with projects which could contribute 2GW waiting for three years or more for a decision.

Mr McGrail urged the Scottish Government to act on this “as a matter of urgency”.

His comments came as polling for RenewableUK found just over half (51%) of Scots would be “disappointed” if the onshore wind projects needed to tackle climate change were not constructed.

The research, carried out by Survation, found 74% of voters said they would “think favourably” of a political party which puts in place a strategy for building more renewable energy projects.

Seven out of 10 people (70%) said they voted for a party they expected to build more green power projects in last year’s Holyrood elections, with 60% saying they had backed a party that supports onshore wind projects.

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Mr McGrail said: “This polling demonstrates that voters in Scotland overwhelmingly support political parties which are pro-renewables and pro-onshore wind.

“The Scottish Government has a clear mandate to consent projects in a timely way to tackle climate change.

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