Renewables industry urges Energy Secretary: lift the bar, allow subsidy-free onshore wind to compete
24 October 2018
Posted by: Rob Norris
Fourteen major renewable energy companies have written a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, asking him to give onshore wind an opportunity to take part in auctions for contracts to generate cheap, clean electricity.
Onshore wind is currently excluded from competing against other technologies in Government-backed power auctions, even though it is the cheapest way of generating new power, and more than three-quarters of the public support the technology according to the Government’s own opinion polls.
The letter states that “new onshore wind power can be secured at a subsidy-free price” but explains that the signatories need the certainty provided by contracts to generate power in order to recoup the investment required to develop and build them, to ensure they are financially viable.
It is signed by project developers ScottishPower Renewables, SSE, innogy, Statkraft, and Vattenfall, along with supply chain companies Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Vestas, CS Wind, RJ McLeod, Farrans Construction , AE Yates, REG Power Management, Athena PTS and RSK.
They offer to “deliver the new onshore wind capacity required to help the UK Government meet its climate goals, and provide low-carbon power that will keep consumer bills down. Indeed, resuming pot 1 Contract for Difference auctions between 2019 and 2025 would provide a payback to consumers of £1.6 billion”.
The letter states that “in addition to being the cheapest form of new power generation, onshore wind has the potential to deliver 18,000 skilled construction jobs, 8,500 long-term skilled jobs and stimulate supply chain investment, resulting in 70% UK content in projects”.
The letter also notes that “Facilitating the development of onshore wind is pragmatic and perfectly in line with manifesto commitments, and the view publicly expressed by Scottish Conservatives that there should be support for onshore wind where it is appropriate and local communities support it”.
RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said ”We trust the Secretary of State will take account of the views of these major UK employers who are offering to build subsidy-free projects as part of the clean energy system of the future. His department’s opinion polls consistently highlight the overwhelming level of public support for onshore wind. New onshore wind would be a triple win for consumers, the environment and UK businesses”.
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The letter to the Secretary of State Greg Clark is available here
The BVG Associates report “The Power of Onshore Wind” (June 2018) contains more information on the £1.6bn payback to consumers, the cheapest way of generating new power, 18,000 construction jobs and 8,500 long-term jobs: available here
More information on the record high level of public support for onshore wind, as shown in opinion polls by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is available here