More than £480 million ( $822 million) has so far been invested in onshore wind projects by businesses, communities, farmers and landowners across Britain, latest figures reveal. The latest Energy Entrepreneurs Report shows an additional 399 independent, commercial-scale projects have come on stream since last year’s report.
With a combined capacity of over 2.8 GW, onshore wind continues to be the most significant technology for independent generators. New investment in onshore wind since the last report was compiled by SmartestEnergy is estimated at £136m. ($232 million). The average invested in each of the 869 independent onshore wind projects of 50 kW capacity or more now in operation stands at around £554,000.
Together the projects are capable of generating £321m in electricity each year, enough to power 1.5 million households. Onshore wind now accounts for 45% of total independent generation capacity.
In terms of numbers of projects, the farming sector is the most active investor in onshore wind with 368 projects in operation at the end of 2013. Other significant investors in onshore wind include developers (282 projects), onsite generators (65), community groups (41) and public sector organisations (14).
Scotland has by far the biggest proportion of onshore wind where it accounts for 84% of commercial-scale independent generation. In England, it is still the most popular technology although wind only accounts for 24% with technologies such as solar and landfill gas also significant. In Wales the figure is 73%.
Soaring energy bills and growing environmental concerns have seen a significant increase in independent renewable energy projects in recent years. “Rising energy prices and the introduction of financial subsidy schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff have sparked huge interest in the development of independent renewable generation projects in recent years,” said Iain Robertson, SmartestEnergy’s Head of Generation.
“For businesses, farms and organizations faced with steep rises in energy costs, investing in their own renewable energy projects can generate significant savings and help them remain competitive. The combined strength of a large number of these projects will also play an increasingly important role in helping the country meet its climate change targets in the years ahead.”
The full report is available to download at www.energyentrepreneursreport.com.