‘Deeply harmful’: No space for offshore wind in Government’s £227m CfD auction
The Government has confirmed that a record number of clean energy projects have been granted a share of £227m in the latest Contracts for Difference (CfD), but green groups have raised questions as to why no offshore wind projects had bids accepted as well as the overall capacity of the confirmed projects.
The Government announced the funding of its flagship CfD scheme on Friday morning (8 September).
A total of 95 clean energy projects have had their bids accepted, with onshore wind and solar accounting for the majority of the funding allocation. A record number of tidal energy schemes were accepted as well as – for the first time – three geothermal projects totaling 12MW.
However, one of the major concerns highlighted by green groups is the absence of offshore wind in the latest funding round. Not a single offshore windfarm bid was accepted in this round of auctions. Details also show that despite an increased number of projects, the round secured three times less capacity and five times less output compared to last year’s results. The Government claims the projects will generate power equivalent to accounting for the energy needs of two million homes.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Graham Stuart said: “We are delighted that our first annual CfD auction has seen a record number of successful projects across solar, onshore wind, tidal power and, for the first time, geothermal.
“This year’s record-breaking CFD round builds on years of renewables growth under this government. Just 7% of our electricity came from renewables in 2010, yet in the first quarter of this year it reached 48% and this first annual auction will allow us to go further in powering more of Britain from Britain.”
CfDs are awarded through auctions where the lower price bids are deemed successful, in a bid to shield consumers from rising energy costs. The Government split this year’s auction to offer a pathway for less established energy sources that may not have the budget to compete with wind projects.
As a result, no offshore wind was allocated funding in this auction. The Government claims this is in line with results in countries like Spain and Germany and attributes it to the global rise in inflation and the impact this has had on the wind supply chain.
The Government maintains it is still aiming to realise its ambitious wind targets. Between 2010 to 2020, the UK accounted for almost half of all offshore wind investments in Europe – worth around £48bn. It was the biggest market as a result.
Indeed, recent research from RenewableUK found that the UK’s offshore wind pipeline has reached almost 98GW – up from 91GW this time last year. However, the green group is warning policymakers not to be complacent, as China and the US forge ahead with their own renewable energy expansions. China is the only nation with a larger offshore wind pipeline than the UK. It stands at almost 166GW.
“Offshore wind is central to our ambitions to decarbonise our electricity supply and our ambition to build 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, including up to 5GW of floating wind, remains firm,” Stuart added.
“The UK installed 300 new turbines last year and we will work with industry to make sure we retain our global leadership in this vital technology.”
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