CfD auction marks milestone for UK renewables

A new era for renewable energy in the UK has been hailed after the latest Contract for Difference (CfD) auction results were announced.

Eleven new energy projects were awarded subsidy worth up to £176m per year in the auction for renewable technologies, including three UK offshore wind projects.

Contracts were awarded to offshore projects at a strike price as low as £57.50 per MWh, a 50% price drop over the previous round of CfD allocations in 2015.

The UK Government said the projects, which are set to generate over 3GW of electricity in total, enough to power 3.6 million homes, demonstrate that the UK “continues to be an attractive place to invest in clean energy”.

It also said the competitive approach was continuing to drive cost reductions in the renewable energy industry

Thousands of new jobs

Minister for Energy and Industry, Richard Harrington, said:

“We’ve placed clean growth at the heart of the Industrial Strategy to unlock opportunities across the country, while cutting carbon emissions.

“The offshore wind sector alone will invest £17.5bn in the UK up to 2021 and thousands of new jobs in British businesses will be created by the projects announced today. This government will continue to seize these opportunities as the world moves towards a low carbon future, and will set out ambitious proposals in the upcoming Clean Growth Plan.”

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said the results mean that both onshore and offshore wind are cheaper than gas and nuclear.

“But this young, ambitious industry can go even further. The Government can help us by continuing to hold fiercely competitive auctions for future projects, as it has promised, and by putting offshore wind at the heart of its upcoming Industrial Strategy.

‘Astounding results’

“We knew the results would be impressive, but these are astounding. Record-breaking cost reductions like the ones achieved by offshore wind are unprecedented for large energy infrastructure.

“The results are further proof that innovation in the offshore wind industry will bring economic growth for the UK on an industrial scale.

The UK needs to establish new trading opportunities as we leave the European Union, and the UK’s offshore wind sector is a world leader in a global renewable energy market currently worth $290 billion a year.”

James Court, head of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, said:

"These results show that renewables are now the most cost-effective form of any energy generation which can future proof both the UK grid and provide sustainable new jobs in the UK.”

> See the CfD auction results in full