United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Over 4GW of onshore wind could bid at next UK auction

Scotland could be home to nearly 4GW of pipeline wind capacity set to bid in the UK’s next contracts for difference (CfD) auction, which could see over 10GW of renewables enter the race for support.

There could be a concentration of Scottish projects that bid into the UK's next CfD round (pic: Octopus Investments)
There could be a concentration of Scottish projects that bid into the UK's next CfD round (pic: Octopus Investments)

With the reintroduction of "advanced" pot one technologies including onshore wind and solar PV into the auction, analysis firm Cornwall Insight calculated around 13GW of renewable capacity could be prepared to bid into the 2021 auction round.

Onshore wind projects could make up 4.2GW of this total, with around 3.8GW of this located in Scotland. The UK's current onshore wind fleet stands at around 13GW.

Eastern England could also see a concentration of new renewables capacity enter the auction, due mostly to the estimated 6GW of offshore wind likely to bid.

James Brabben, wholesale manager at Cornwall Insight, also highlighted 900MW of pipeline capacity expected to take part in the auction is "Remote Island Wind" (RIW) on islands off Scotland's mainland.

RIW sites are also listed in a separate "pot" from both onshore and offshore, and therefore could be in a position to secure deals.

"Although the auction is set to be a competitive one, the location of potential applications may cause other issues such as high transmission network use of system costs for larger sites in Scotland, differences in load factors and site conditions, plus wider financing and strategic factors at play from project sponsors," Brabben said.

"The pipeline may also change as we head through to 2021. Particularly as some sites continue to look at subsidy-free and merchant options instead, while new sites may also join the queue for the CfD," he added.

The UK government is currently consulting on reintroducing onshore wind and solar into the CfD process after the technologies were banned from the 2017 round.

It admitted relying on the merchant market could endanger the UK's 2030 emissions reduction targets.

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