UK earmarks £557m for 2019 renewables auction

The government announces the move ahead of its Clean Growth Strategy to drive economic activity while increasing the use of renewable energy.

The UK government has earmarked £557 million ($731.3 million; €617.1 million) for “less established” renewable projects in its next clean energy auction, planned for Spring 2019, Richard Harrington, the energy minister, said in a statement.

The announcement for the next Contract for Difference auction comes ahead of today’s release of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which outlines the UK’s plan to drive economic growth while increasing clean energy use.

Clean energy auctions have played a large role in helping the UK add renewable energy sources. The auctions – the first held in 2015 and the second in September – have helped drive down the cost of clean energy projects. The latest auction concluded with 3GW of renewables generation procured and offshore wind prices falling by 50 percent compared with the 2015 auction, with two projects awarded for £57.50 per MWh.

“With the downward trend in costs set to continue, the confirmation of the 2019 auction will allow further investment in the sector and it will be exciting to see how many projects can be accommodated in the next process,” said Robert Marsh, partner and co-chair of Norton Rose Fulbright’s renewables practice.

Since 1990, the UK’s carbon emissions have decreased by a third, while the economy has grown by two-thirds, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Analysis from financial consultant PwC found that the UK is decarbonising faster than any other G20 nation.