United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Alone in the free market

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Renewable generators have signed up to supply some 120 MW of power in the UK's liberalised electricity market from the beginning of 1999. The deals mark the move from a protected market under the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO) policy to the open market. All the output covered comes from NFFO-1 and NFFO-2 generators whose contracts end on December 31. The deals were negotiated by the Renewable Generators' Consortium which obtained offers from electricity suppliers to buy output from all its 116 members, representing 312 MW of capacity. The prices secured by the RGC include a renewable premium. Contracts vary in length, but most are for two or three years. So far, more than 40 generators have accepted offers -- mostly from PowerGen, Yorkshire and Southern. The RGC believes many of its remaining members will accept suppliers' offers before the end of the year. "In its scale, this is a first," says energy minister John Battle. Speaking to the renewables industry, he adds: "It is important to us both because it marks the success of the NFFO policy in allowing renewable energy technologies to develop more quickly in a protected market niche and because it shows that permanent support under NFFO is not needed." The RGC was set up with government funding and is led by Fibrowatt, a company that generates electricity from chicken litter. Although the RGC's work is complete on the present round of deals, Andrew MacDonald from the consortium says it might going for future negotiations.

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