The UK has experienced another first with a four-year high for the number of new clean energy projects that have sought planning permission. Last year, there were 269 applications for renewable energy projects.
The growth was pushed forward by energy companies that were desperately seeking to meet customer demand for clean energy tariffs. PX Group, the energy consultancy, gathered the figures and found that last year's planning figure was a 75% increase against 2016, when only 154 applications for planning permission were submitted.
Along with rising customer demand, developers of renewable energy projects have benefited from more financial support and plummeting technology costs. PX Group’s CEO, Geoff Holmes, said that the UK was making great strides to ensure that green clean sources of power were able to drive the country's energy mix. He added that there were still significant time lags between planning application submissions and operational projects, so he did caution readers that a healthy pipeline of projects was not the same as a quick fix.
It is expected that more planning permission applications will be seen in the near future after a block on onshore wind was lifted by the government. This means that onshore wind developments are now eligible for certain subsidies.
Another key driver behind the growth of planning applications in the renewable industry is that the number and diversity of projects were offering greater interest to investors. For example, anaerobic digestion has risen sharply in popularity in recent years as a means of transforming household waste into biogas. These newer types of emerging renewable energy offer investors and developers new interest and greater diversity for projects and investment.
The industry is now united in hoping that the current Coronavirus scare doesn't lead to prolonged economic problems for the UK and for the renewables industry.