It’s UK Wind Week 2020 and a chance to celebrate the fabulous natural resource we have in Great Britain and its central role in shaping a low-carbon energy system that will help deliver not only the opportunity for a green recovery, but also support the ambitious climate change targets set to unlock Net Zero.

At the heart of these ambitions is increasing the amount of renewable energy needed to support an all-electric future – generating more green electricity to keep the lights on, heat our houses and power the transport we need to get around.

While that may sound straightforward, in practice it means quadrupling generation from renewable sources output across the UK in the coming decades, with wind generation doing the heavy lifting – whether onshore, offshore or floating: each presenting significant opportunities the length and breadth of the country.

Onshore wind is now the lowest cost – and most proven – means of delivering rapid decarbonisation at scale. So, it makes perfect sense – from an economic and an environmental perspective – to build more onshore windfarms, delivering positive and tangible outcomes in the process like investment, jobs and community benefits.

The onshore windfarms ScottishPower will be investing in will be cutting-edge – embracing innovative solutions and the latest technologies to allow hybridisation with solar PV and battery storage, so that green energy will produce electricity and also have an effective role in supporting a resilient and flexible electricity grid system.

We cannot look to fossil fuels if we’re to have any chance of delivering the transformative change needed.

That flexible and creative approach will allow us to optimise the use of the natural resources available; increase the amount of clean, green energy produced; make efficient use of existing connections to the national grid; and deliver cost-effective electricity to homes and businesses – all of which is a win-win.

At ScottishPower Renewables, we have stated our intention to invest more than £3.7 billion between 2020-2025 to increase renewable capacity across the UK.

This includes construction of around 2.1GW of innovative onshore wind, solar PV and battery storage projects across the UK, some of which will be hybrid ‘energy parks’, as well as developing our plans for a 3.1GW offshore East Anglia Hub. A further 3GW of onshore projects are also being progressed as part of our pipeline beyond 2025.

Our pipeline to 2025 will almost double our renewables capacity over the next five years alone, which is an incredible achievement. This will not only massively increase the availability of green energy, we estimate it will support more than 7,000 jobs in a range of occupations – we will need technicians, project managers, engineers, analysts, lawyers, and even ecologists to make this happen.

The range of career opportunities presented by investing in wind generation is exciting and inspiring for those considering how they want to make a contribution to a better future, quicker.

With billions of pounds of investment supporting an extensive supply chain, creating thousands of jobs, and delivering economic and social benefits to local people, businesses and communities, the UK needs to grasp the opportunity and work to establish the policies and frameworks from which these outcomes can be achieved – all with the goal of Net Zero in mind.

While many of the building blocks are in place, we need a forward-looking, cohesive approach across planning, grid, supply chain and energy policy that will help us deliver the outcomes that will benefit the environment, aid the transition to green transport and heating, and support the economy by catalysing investment, creating green jobs, and firmly marking out the UK’s position as a global leader in wind.

Action now will make a real difference – not just in the long-term, but in the here and now –as we work to achieve a resilient, green and sustainable economic recovery that will help us meet Net Zero.

At ScottishPower Renewables, we’ve set out our plan to support that ambition and will continue to lead the way in turning it into a reality.

Lindsay McQuade, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables