Onshore wind: policy statement 2022

Sets out our ambition to deploy 20GW of onshore wind by 2030, as well as details on the formation of an onshore wind strategic leadership group, who will develop an onshore wind sector deal.

Annex 5: The Vision for Onshore Wind in Scotland

Following a roundtable event hosted by the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport in September 2022, the Scottish onshore wind industry, in consultation with Scottish Government, have produced the following vision statement.

This Vision is a statement of common ground between the renewables industry and Scottish Government, and forms the basis for the Sector Deal discussions, which will begin in earnest following the first Onshore Wind Strategic Leadership Group meeting in early 2023.​

Executive Summary

With Scotland's natural resources and commitment from the Scottish Government, communities, stakeholders and industry, the vision for the onshore wind industry in Scotland is a future where:

  • We build on the almost 9 GW of existing capacity by constructing an additional 12 GW of new onshore wind generation by 2030
  • Onshore wind continues to play a key role in decarbonising the power sector, reducing consumer costs, and ensuring security of supply whilst playing a key role in the electrification of heat and transport
  • The selection of wind farm locations and technologies enables the use of the most productive modern turbines and balances the need to respect biodiversity and natural heritage
  • Land use for onshore wind is optimised and combined with other initiatives including reforestation and peatland restoration, as well as providing enhanced access to green space for recreation
  • New and repowering projects consistently receive high levels of public support
  • High skilled and sustainable jobs are created, including long term jobs in the operations phase
  • Material use is optimised, and carbon impact is minimised, through the principles of a circular economy, in turn creating opportunities in component reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling
  • Community benefit and shared ownership provides lasting social and economic benefit in local areas
  • Onshore wind plays a central role in ensuring a just transition for communities and people

To achieve this Vision, the Onshore Wind Sector Deal sets out how government and industry will collaborate to deliver the minimum ambition of 12 GW of new onshore wind in Scotland by 2030.

Vision Statement

Onshore wind is the biggest source of renewable energy in Scotland – of the total 13 GW of renewable energy in Scotland, almost 9 GW is supplied by onshore wind. Public acceptance for onshore wind has consistently increased over the last decade with the latest RenewableUK poll noting that more than 87% of the UK public either strongly support onshore wind development or have no opinion. Scotland's abundant natural resources and policy support for onshore wind have seen us lead the way in project deployment and the resulting economic benefit compared to other parts of the UK.

Scotland's electricity use and demand are expected to change significantly as we decarbonise our energy system. As we push to electrify heat and transport, which together account for around 75% of our current energy needs, Scotland's peak demand for electricity is projected to at least double within the next two decades. As we meet the challenge of this growing electricity demand we must also consider related issues such as energy security and affordability, as well as our legally binding decarbonisation targets.

Onshore wind is one of the cheapest and quickest forms of new electricity generation. Onshore wind remains vital to meeting this increasing demand, providing fast deployment whilst minimising costs to the consumer. This will be achieved by deploying the most productive modern turbines that are taller than older models, by repowering existing sites where possible, and by maximising the use of our exceptional natural wind resource where environmental effects are acceptable. These will sit in Scotland's evolving landscape among reforested hills, restored peatland, and thriving and sustainable ecosystems.

Aligning with the priority themes of nature recovery and climate change defined in Scotland's National Performance Framework, industry, government, and stakeholders will work together to increase the deployment of onshore wind, leading to the establishment of areas where renewable energy generation, carbon sequestration, ecosystem restoration, and access to green space for recreation and well-being are combined in ways that create high-value and sustainable jobs

The Onshore Wind Sector Deal aligns the goals and expectations of the wind energy industry and local and national governments to successfully deliver a shared ambition for onshore wind and the wider national goals of a managed and just energy transition. With a focus on delivering the lowest cost new renewable energy quickly and efficiently, it provides the framework for making the most cost-effective and sustainable choices on technology and siting, with wind energy accepted as part of the human environment, whilst balancing the need to respect biodiversity, natural heritage, and landscapes. Scottish and UK Governments will work together to achieve this vision, especially around the vital enabling policy areas of grid access and route to market.

The Sector Deal facilitates a significant increase in renewable energy capacity, whilst remaining committed to the principle of communities directly benefiting from developments in their local area. Community benefit and shared ownership are central to The Scottish Government's Good Practice Principles, and the Just Transition Outcomes, supporting the delivery of lasting social and economic opportunities for host communities and Scotland as a whole. Building on historical success, the Sector Deal seeks to maximise future positive benefits in these areas. Our commitment to onshore wind is fully aligned with the anticipated growth of its offshore sibling, leveraging opportunities for combined skills and supply chain investment.

Looking to 2030 and beyond, the Onshore Wind Sector Deal will deliver an installed capacity of at least 20 GW of onshore wind, delivering vital low carbon and lowest cost energy into Scotland's electricity grid. This will enable significantly increased investment in skills, training, and communities, helping to maximise benefits at both national and local scale. It will create the necessary pathways for long-term sustainable energy, jobs, and supply chains, identifying best practice for a circular economy in electricity generation, with an increase in our manufacturing capability.


Email: OnshoreWindPolicy@gov.scot

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