The United Kingdom is one of the best locations for wind power in the world, and is considered to be the best in Europe. Wind power contributed 11% of UK electricity generation in 2015, and 17% in December 2015. Allowing for the costs of pollution, particularly the carbon emissions of other forms of production, onshore wind power is the cheapest form of energy in the United Kingdom. In 2016, the UK generated more electricity from wind power than from coal.
Wind power delivers a growing percentage of the energy of the United Kingdom and by the beginning of December 2017, it consisted of 8,135 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 17.2 gigawatts: 11,414 megawatts of onshore capacity and 5,788 megawatts of offshore capacity. This placed the United Kingdom at this time as the world's sixth largest producer of wind power (behind 1. China, 2. USA, 3. Germany, 4. India and 5. Spain), having overtaken France and Italy in 2012. Polling of public opinion consistently shows strong support for wind power in the UK, with nearly three quarters of the population agreeing with its use, even for people living near onshore wind turbines.
Through the Renewables Obligation, British electricity suppliers are now required by law to provide a proportion of their sales from renewable sources such as wind power or pay a penalty fee. The supplier then receives a Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) for each MW·h of electricity they have purchased. Within the United Kingdom, wind power is the largest source of renewable electricity, and the second largest source of renewable energy after biomass. However, the UK's Conservative government is opposed to onshore wind power and has attempted to cancel existing subsidies for onshore wind turbines a year early from April 2016, although the House of Lords have struck these changes down.
Overall, wind power raises costs of electricity slightly. In 2015, it was estimated that the use of wind power in the UK had added £18 to the average yearly electricity bill. This was the additional cost to consumers of using wind to generate about 9.3% of the annual total (see table below) – about £2 for each 1%. Nevertheless, offshore wind power is significantly more expensive than onshore, which raises costs. Offshore wind projects completed in 2012–14 had a levelised cost of electricity of £131/MWh compared to a wholesale price of £40–50/MWh. In 2017 the Financial Times reported that new offshore wind costs had fallen by nearly a third over four years, to an average of £97/MWh, meeting the government's £100/MWh target four years early. Later in 2017 two offshore wind farm bids were made at a cost of £57.50/MWh for construction by 2022-23, nearly half the cost of a recent new nuclear power contract....LESS