UK onshore wind is regaining momentum

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Machynlleth, 18 June 2019 – Dulas, a leading renewable energy consultancy, has announced that its wind monitoring division has seen an uptick in site survey work, suggesting that the UK’s onshore wind industry is taking steps towards a post-subsidy future.

Between January and May of this year, Dulas has secured 107 wind monitoring projects, covering maintenance, data collection, storage, met mast installations, and fault fixing. Crucially, this figure includes eleven site surveys, with a number of potential locations at each site. This is a marked increase on the same period in 2018, where out of 56 wind monitoring projects, not a single site survey was commissioned.

2017’s subsidy drop-off saw the closure of the Renewables Obligation scheme and prevention of new onshore wind from competing in the Government’s Contracts for Difference auctions. In response, new onshore wind installations fell by nearly 80% in 2018 – the lowest level since 2011. However, these new site surveying figures from Dulas indicate that investment in the UK’s onshore renewables capacity is returning.

Site surveys are a crucial stage in the development of new onshore wind projects. Once a developer secures the rights to a prospective site, analysts carry out a desk-based study to identify where on that site meteorological masts should be installed to best evaluate the commercial viability of the project. A site survey is then commissioned to assess the feasibility of each location in terms of safety, plant access, and ground conditions.

Once the survey is complete, the wind monitoring team produce a comprehensive report that includes recommendations on suitable mast technology and how it can be installed safely. This report is then used by the developer to apply for planning permission, further progressing the project down the development pipeline.

Rhian Smith-Evans, Key Account Manager for Wind Monitoring at Dulas, said: “The UK government’s decision to withdraw subsidy support for onshore wind had a devastating impact on project development in 2018 but the increase in requests for site surveying work Dulas has seen so far in 2019 is hugely encouraging.”

“This is a good indicator to the market that onshore wind development is set for an upturn in the UK, and we would urge more developers to get involved in driving post-subsidy wind projects forward.”