In the context of a global transition to decarbonise the energy system and meet NetZero targets, expanding energy output from renewables is increasingly important. However, space for renewable energy infrastructure is limited and existing wind farms are beginning to reach the end of their operational or consent life. Given tightening planning and land restrictions, keeping consented infrastructure in place is likely to form a key part of ensuring that renewable energy targets are met. There is also potential to significantly increase
the energy generated from existing sites through repowering (replacing existing infrastructure with new). However, the context of existing sites and the opinions of local communities may have changed over time. There is thus a need to consider how we make decisions about the future of our existing onshore renewable energy sites, including how local communities are involved in such decisions.
This report provides the findings of a three-year research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The research explored the policy context and experiences of end-of-life decision- making (repowering, life-extension and decommissioning) for onshore wind and solar farms in Great Britain.
Windemer, R. (2021). End-of-life decision making for onshore wind and solar farms in Great Britain. Research findings and recommendations