Call for onshore wind to compete in UK auctions

UK: Fourteen renewable energy companies have written to the government demanding that onshore wind be allowed to compete at auction.

Most onshore wind projects are currently barred from competing in UK auctions (pic credit: Peel Energy)

The signatories argue projects could be delivered subsidy-free, but developers need the certainty provided by contracts to recover the required investment and ensure financial viability.

Allowing onshore wind projects to compete at auction could also help the UK government to meet its climate targets, create jobs and cut costs for consumers, they claimed in a letter to the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Greg Clarke.

Most onshore wind projects are currently barred from competing at auction, although wind farms on the UK’s remote islands have now been ruled eligible to participate. Offshore wind projects will compete in a tender next year and then in biennial auctions throughout the 2020s.

The letter concludes: "The time really is now for onshore wind.

"Securing investment in this technology is an opportunity for UK industry and consumers which should not be missed.

"We therefore urge you to act now to deliver on the potential of onshore wind through new Pot 1 CfD (contracts for differences) auctions."

The companies claim resuming Pot 1 CfD auctions – which would include onshore wind – between 2019 and 2025 could save customers £1.6 billion (€1.8 billion).

They also refer to an analysis by consultancy BVG Associates that states onshore wind could create 18,000 skilled construction jobs, plus 8,500 long-term skilled jobs, and stimulate investment in the supply chain.

The letter also reaffirms the UK’s Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation that the government support low-cost options, such as onshore wind. It also points out that the UK’s Natural Infrastructure Commission has advocated for 50% renewable generation by 2030 and the resumption of Pot 1 auctions.

The letter also refers to an opinion poll carried out by the government, in which two thirds of respondents said onshore wind should be built in areas that support it. 

It was signed by developers ScottishPower Renewables, SSE, Innogy, Statkraft and Vattenfall as well as turbine makers Siemens Gamesa and Vestas. Tower manufacturer CS Wind, civil engineers RJ Mcleod, Farrans Construction and AE Yates, asset manager REG Power Management, and consultants Athena PTS and RSK also signed the letter.

RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck added: "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.

"New onshore wind would be a triple win for consumers, the environment and UK businesses."