28 March 2023
A new report, that has attracted cross-party support, sets out a clear roadmap for how Britain can boost renewables to cut its dependence on volatile international gas markets and be energy secure by 2030.
To become energy secure by 2030, Britain will need to unlock an additional 70GW of renewable power in less than seven years, on top of the 40GW already available, stated Britain Remade in its Powerbook report.
The report suggests “major reforms”, including fast-tracking clean energy projects within designated zones and ending the ban on onshore wind in England.
Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero Ed Miliband (pictured) said: “This is exactly the kind of ambition we need to drive towards clean power by 2030.
“It can lower bills, make us more energy secure, create jobs and once again show global climate leadership.
“I urge all those serious about the green transition to show the scale of vision contained in this document. I look forward to building the broadest coalition to make it happen."
With the vast majority of Britain’s renewable energy infrastructure being built outside the south east, speeding up these major projects will unleash tens of thousands of jobs in Britain’s former industrial heartlands in the north and the Midlands, states the report.
In order to deliver the ambitious plans, Britain Remade is proposing a major update to the planning system to reduce the amount of unnecessary paperwork and red tape which is holding back more sources of energy being built.
One of the ways this will be achieved will be through the creation of new Clean Power Zones across the country.
The new zones, modelled on policies in Spain, would provide fast-tracked planning approval for new clean energy projects by eliminating environmental impact assessments in all but exceptional cases for all onshore wind, up to 75MW, and solar projects of 150MW and under.
Under current rules it can take up to 13 years for an offshore wind farm to progress through the planning system and start generating power.
Research carried out by Britain Remade found that the environmental impact assessment for the East Anglia Two offshore wind farm, which will provide 800,000 homes with clean renewable energy, ran to 10,961 pages.
Along with planning reform, a key part of the Britain Remade plan is to end the ban on new onshore wind developments in England so that at least 20GW of onshore wind generation can be installed by 2030.
This should be done by removing the requirement for unanimous support for a planning application and replacing it with a Community Safeguard. This would allow projects to go ahead, unless a majority of local residents actively oppose it.
So that those who live nearest to an onshore wind farm benefit the most, the report calls for energy companies to be able to give households that are closest to a turbine development discounts on their energy bills.
To push forward a rooftop revolution for solar panels, rules should be changed so that planning permission is no longer needed to install the panels on commercial and residential rooftops outside of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation Areas.
For large utility-scale solar farms, the time it takes get them up and running should be cut to just 15 months, so that at least 40GW of solar energy generation can be connected to the grid by the end of the decade.
Sam Richards, Founder and Campaign Director for Britain Remade, said: “By speeding up the delivery of clean energy projects Britain will be energy secure by 2030, meaning we will no longer be reliant on expensive foreign gas, households will benefit from cheaper bills and tens of thousands of good quality jobs will be created across the country.
“But we cannot unleash the full potential of clean energy and enjoy the benefits until we reform our outdated planning system.”