UK government confirms CfD support, timeline

After months of uncertainty, the UK government has set a £290m budget for each of the next two renewable energy auctions for ‘less established technologies’.

The UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has revealed it will hold applications for its next Contracts for Difference round in April 2017.

The auction will be open to “less established” renewable energy sources, including offshore wind, biomass, wave and tidal, despite a government review into tidal power still being carried out. The CfD process will exclude support for onshore wind and solar.

As outlined by the UK’s previous government in March this year, £730 million ($907.8 million; €818.9 million) will be available for renewable energy support in the current parliament, with £290 million to be set aside for April’s auction.

For offshore wind projects to be deployed in 2021/22, the government has set a maximum provisional strike price of £105/MWh, coming down to £100/MWh in 2022/23. This represents a 25 percent reduction on the prices awarded to projects in the last CfD auction in February 2015.

“We’re sending a clear signal that Britain is one of the best places in the world to invest in clean, flexible energy as we continue to upgrade our energy infrastructure,” business and energy secretary Greg Clark said.

The industry praised the government after enduring a prolonged period of uncertainty regarding the date of the next auction following the cancellation of a planned auction last October. Despite the budget announcement in March, the EU referendum and the introduction of a new government had put plans on hold.

One offshore wind farm to secure a subsidy in the last round – Mainstream’s 448MW Neart Na Goithe project – is in doubt after losing a legal battle in a Scottish court over concerns about the project’s impact on local bird populations.