Awarding CfD contracts for 5 gigawatts (GW) of new onshore wind power between 2019 and 2025 could deliver a net payback to UK consumers of £1.6 billion, a new report claims.

Analysis from renewable energy consultants BVG Associates show that the costs of new onshore wind projects will drop beneath the Government’s forecast wholesale electricity price from 2023, delivering a net benefit for the nation.

The report, supported by ScottishPower Renewables, Vattenfall, innogy and Statkraft, was issued to coincide with the first ever Onshore Wind Week in the UK, which will see a range of events held across the country.

The analysis considers five new Contract for Difference (CfD) auctions held from 2019 and at 18 month intervals thereafter. Each has a maximum capacity of 1GW.

It is expected that 86% of the projects by capacity will be built in Scotland and 12% in Wales. Less than 2% will be built in England made up of small scale projects (sub 50MW) of a type typically developed by communities.

Around 18,000 skilled jobs would be supported during the peak years of construction, with 8,500 people employed in long-term skilled jobs when all the wind farms are operating.

Bruce Valpy, Managing Director at BVGA said: “It is good to get these messages into the public domain. As the onshore wind industry moves ‘subsidy free’, recognising its role in job and value creation in local neighbourhoods is important. In the UK, we need to build a sustainable electricity mix that plays to our strengths in terms of natural resources and capable workforce.”

Island wind farms allowed to compete

The UK Government has altered the rules for the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions to allow wind farms on remote islands to compete for subsidies.

Ministers have made the change by classifying remote island wind farms as “emerging technologies” instead of “established technologies”.

The moves marks the first time since 2015 that turbines will be able to compete for funding following the Conservative government’s abolition of subsidies.

The next CfD auction is due to be held in the spring, with £557 million of support available.

> Read the UK Government's announcement