14 major renewable energy companies have penned a joint letter to the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, urging him to drop the current restrictions on onshore wind which prevent it from competing in the Government’s power auctions.
Currently, the UK awards power through its Contracts for Difference auction scheme. However, the auctions are currently only being offered to one of two “pots” of renewable energy technologies — the pot which includes “less established technologies” such as offshore wind and onshore wind on remote islands. The other pot, however, includes “established technologies” such as solar and onshore wind, and auctions have not been offered under this pot for some time.
Thus, 14 major renewable energy companies, made up of project developers and supply chain companies, have sought to convince the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, to resume pot 1 Contract for Difference auctions between 2019 and 2025. Specifically, the authors of the letter claim that re-opening pot 1 auctions “would provide a payback to consumers of £1.6 billion.”
“In addition to being the cheapest form of new power generation, an analysis from the BVG has found that onshore wind has the potential to deliver 18,000 skilled construction jobs, 8,500 longterm skilled jobs, and stimulate supply chain investment, resulting in 70% UK content in projects, in those areas where there are no objections to its development,” the authors of the letter wrote.
The letter was signed by project developers ScottishPower Renewables, SSE, innogy, Statkraft, and Vattenfall, along with supply chain companies Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Vestas, CS Wind, RJ McLeod, Farrans Construction , AE Yates, REG Power Management, Athena PTS, and RSK.
“Thanks to a rapid fall in costs, new onshore wind power can be secured at a subsidy-free price. However, the considerable upfront investments and lack of investor certainty associated with a merchant approach to onshore wind development means that there is a risk this low-cost, lowcarbon power source, and its potential, will not be sufficiently utilised without contracts to procure new capacity.
“In order not to miss the opportunities for growth in supply chain companies and consumer benefit, it is crucial that a decision on procurement through CfD auctions is made now.”
There is an irony in preventing onshore wind from competing for power in the UK, considering that it is the cheapest way of generating new power. In addition, as a poll in July highlighted, a clear majority of UK residents not only support onshore wind but are actively in favor of putting an end to the Government’s effective ban on onshore wind.
”We trust the Secretary of State will take account of the views of these major UK employers who are offering to build subsidy-free projects as part of the clean energy system of the future,” said Emma Pinchbeck, RenewableUK’s Executive Director. “His department’s opinion polls consistently highlight the overwhelming level of public support for onshore wind. New onshore wind would be a triple win for consumers, the environment and UK businesses.”