Planning applications for renewable energy projects hit a 4-year high in 2019 as the demand for clean power continues to rise, but the Coronavirus outbreak may cool performance in 2020.
Research from energy consultancy PX Group, published in The Guardian, found that there were 269 new planning applications for large wind, solar and bioenergy projects in 2019, up from 204 the year before.
‘Public demanding renewables’
The findings reflect a growing appetite for clean power in the UK, with current levels of renewable electricity generation needing to quadruple if the country is to hit its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
Initial hopes for increased investment in 2020 were high after the government proposed to lift a de facto ban on subsidies for onshore wind - the cheapest form of renewable electricity - earlier this month.
Commenting on the government’s decision, Hugh McNeal, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: “Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy.”
However, the outbreak of COVID-19 is expected to impact investment. The Bloomberg New Energy Finance consultancy has cut its forecast for global solar demand for 2020 by 16 per cent - which could potentially mean the first annual slowdown in solar capacity for decades.
Faith Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, told The Guardian that market conditions were “challenging”, but added: “The good news is that…we have much cheaper renewable technologies, have made major progress in electric vehicles and there is a supportive financial community for the clean energy transition.”
Posted under General Interest and Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy on 25 March 2020