Next re­new­ables auc­tions to open in 2019

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page -

THE next wave of re­new­able en­ergy fund­ing has been set for 18 months’ time in an at­tempt to build on the dra­matic fall in tech­nol­ogy costs seen in the lat­est round of auc­tions.

Re­new­able de­vel­op­ers will com­pete for a slice of £557m to sup­port new en­ergy tech­nolo­gies such as off­shore wind where costs have halved in re­cent years. Wind farms built on re­mote Scot­tish is­lands will also be al­lowed to vie for fund­ing af­ter min­is­ters agreed to make an ex­cep­tion to the con­tro­ver­sial stance against fund­ing on­shore wind. Wind farms based on Orkney, Shet­land and the Western Isles face sim­i­lar chal­lenges as off­shore projects in terms of con­nect­ing to the main­land grid, but could sup­ply as much as 3pc of Bri­tain’s elec­tric­ity de­mand.

The £557m pot is likely to be stag­gered over two sep­a­rate auc­tions of­fer­ing a chance for is­land wind de­vel­op­ers, in­clud­ing EDF En­ergy and SSE, the chance to com­pete against projects that missed out on the lat­est auc­tion and are ea­ger to re­vive ap­pli­ca­tions.

Scot­tish Power Re­new­ables – the de­vel­oper arm of the Big Six sup­plier – dropped out of the run­ning for the last auc­tion in Au­gust be­fore it be­gan, say­ing its East Anglia 2 project off the Suf­folk coast would not be ready in

time. Other com­pa­nies that missed out on con­tracts in this auc­tion round in­clude ma­rine power de­vel­oper At­lantis Re­sources. Its Mey­gen ma­rine power project in Scot­land failed to keep pace with plum­met­ing off­shore wind costs in the hard-fought auc­tion.

Min­is­ters fired the start­ing gun for de­vel­op­ers to pre­pare for the com­pet­i­tive auc­tion ahead of its long-awaited clean growth strat­egy to be re­vealed to­mor­row. Richard Har­ring­ton, the en­ergy min­is­ter, said the strat­egy would set out how the whole of the UK can “ben­e­fit from the global move to a low car­bon econ­omy”.

“We’ve shown be­yond doubt that re­new­able en­ergy projects are an ef­fec­tive way to cut our emis­sions, while cre­at­ing thou­sands of good jobs and at­tract­ing bil­lions of pounds worth of in­vest­ment,” he said.

The plung­ing cost of off­shore wind in the most re­cent auc­tion meant more wind farms were able to ap­ply for the £294m fund­ing pot, bring­ing an in­vest­ment surge of £17.5bn into the UK.

Re­new­able UK said other re­new­able en­ergy tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing on­shore wind, should ben­e­fit from the same. “We need the Gov­ern­ment to show the same level of com­mit­ment to our cut­ting-edge wave and tidal en­ergy in­dus­tries. In­no­va­tive float­ing off­shore wind tech­nol­ogy also of­fers new op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said Hugh McNeal, the trade body’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“Min­is­ters should send a clear sig­nal that they un­der­stand the many ways our is­land na­tion can tap the enor­mous and di­verse en­ergy re­sources in our seas, and ex­port these in­dus­tries glob­ally,” he added.

The Con­ser­va­tive Party pulled sub­si­dies for on­shore wind in 2014 but in re­cent weeks has sig­nalled a po­ten­tial re­turn for wind tur­bines.

Mr Har­ring­ton and fel­low en­ergy min­is­ter Claire Perry both told del­e­gates at the Con­ser­va­tive con­fer­ence that new on­shore wind projects could re­turn to play a role de­pend­ing on whether their costs are com­pet­i­tive and they win the sup­port of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. “Pro­vided that it goes through a rea­son­able lo­cal plan­ning sys­tem, I see no rea­son why it should not be on the same level play­ing field as ev­ery­thing else,” Mr Har­ring­ton said.

Richard Har­ring­ton, En­ergy Min­is­ter, said on­shore wind power should be on the same level play­ing field as other sources

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