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Renewable energy project applications jump to hit four-year high

There were 269 planning applications submitted in the UK last year.

There were 269 planning applications submitted in the UK last year.

The number of planning applications for renewable energy projects hit a four-year high in 2019, as demand for green power continues to grow.

Green energy planning applications submitted across the UK jumped from 204 in 2018 to 269 in 2019, according to energy consultancy px Group.

This is particularly significant as it marks four consistent years of growth, and a 75% increase in the number of projects in just three years, from 154 in 2016 to last year's high.

px Group said these figures show a strong appetite for renewable energy, as the UK looks to drive down emissions. While it will take a number of years for those submitting applications to come to fruition, having a strong pipeline of projects is essential to continued growth.

Britain is already seeing the effect of the energy transition, with renewables “on the brink” of becoming the main electricity source according to energy analysis provider EnAppSys. This followed 104.8TWh of Britain’s electricity coming from renewables in 2019, just shy of the 115.1TWh produced by gas-fired power stations.

Unsurprisingly, applications for wind power projects in the UK have seen particular growth in recent years, growing from 47 applications in 2018 to 90 in 2019.

This follows strong governmental support for offshore wind, with the country aiming to have 40GW by 2030 following pledges made by the government during the Queen's Speech.

Additionally, renewables received a boost earlier this month with the announcement of a new contracts for difference auction for onshore wind and solar. This was widely welcomed by the UK energy sector, in particular given that the lack of subsidy and support has seen uptake of both technologies slow down despite the dramatic cost drops they have witnessed.

Geoff Holmes, chief executive officer at px Group, said it was “extremely encouraging” to see the renewable energy pipeline grow.

“It goes without saying that as more of these projects get off the ground, the faster the UK can get to a point where clean, green sources provide an even greater share of the UK’s energy.

“Of course, there is a lag time between submitting plans to councils and projects becoming fully operational, so more projects being in the pipeline is not a quick fix.”


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