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Rare find: a wind farm in Cornwall

Photo: Matt Cardy/ Getty Images

You think that no one can fool an energy transition like Germany? Then you should take a look at Great Britain. The local grid operator National Grid has calculated that the country will have to invest massively in wind farms on the mainland – known as onshore in technical jargon – by 2030. The installed capacity would have to be increased to 30 gigawatts.

According to a study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), however, the country is far from achieving the necessary pace in the construction of wind turbines. Very, very, very far away. Since 2015, a total of just 15 smaller onshore wind farms have been approved in the United Kingdom. These generate only 0.02 percent of the amount of electricity that National Grid estimates will be needed in 2030, the authors calculate (click here for the press release ).

De facto ban on new construction

If the expansion of wind power continues at this snail's pace in the future, "England would need 4700 years to reach onshore wind power capacity," according to the institute. Currently, the country is practically as far away from providing the necessary wind power capacities "as it was when construction of Stonehenge began in 2500 BC," criticizes Luke Murphy, deputy IPPR director.

The reason for the extremely sluggish expansion is apparently the extremely restrictive planning system in Great Britain. The IPPR even speaks of a "de facto ban" on wind turbines on the mainland. To put this into perspective, the new installed capacity in the UK since 2015 is 6.7 megawatts. In Germany, on the other hand, new plants with a capacity of 2022 megawatts were built in 2400 alone.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised six months ago to tackle the problems – but so far without success.