Onshore Wind Bill [HL] - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:23 pm on 19 November 2021.

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Photo of Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Crossbench 12:23, 19 November 2021

I think I need to declare an interest and do so very explicitly. The noble Baroness, Lady Sheehan, referred to Scottish Power. I am a director of Scottish Power, which operates 40 wind farms and generates about 2.8 gigawatts at the moment. All our generation is green. When I joined the board, we had two large coal-fired stations and a lot of small combined-cycle gas turbine stations. We have sold the gas stations and closed the coal-fired stations. Between 2020 and 2025, we plan to invest some £3.7 billion in onshore renewable generation—wind, solar and battery—and we have a 3-gigawatt, UK-wide renewable future project pipeline. We also have offshore wind farms.

I say all that because although I cannot match the expertise of those who have already spoken—particularly the noble Baronesses, Lady Worthington and Lady Hayman—I want to be transparent about my interests and establish some credential for what I am going to say about national policy. I know a little bit about what I am talking about.

I very much congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, on her Bill. It is badly needed. I could argue that, for example, it would be good to see Clause 1 refer to installing battery storage on wind farms with a single connection point to improve flexibility. I might similarly suggest a reference to installing photovoltaic solar capacity on existing wind farm sites. I might also query the inclusion of Wales within the scope of the Bill because, in my experience, planning works better in Wales.