United Kingdom

Windpower Monthly rating 3.5/5

Our rating is based on a combination of project pipeline, political and policy support, investor confidence and structural readiness of the country in terms of grid infrastructure, permitting process and local supply chain.

Forecast of installed and operating wind power capacity based on the latest statisitics and measured against the Windpower Intelligence database.

Outside Scotland, the planning system remains more or less rigged against onshore wind, the Government sticking to its promise of "no new subsidies for onshore wind". Although reasonably generous "grace period" arrangements were put in place in the Energy Act 2016, we are aware of many projects to which the early closure of the RO to onshore wind legislated for in the 2016 Act was fatal.

One or two Scottish projects (typically extensions to, or sharing grid connections with earlier projects) are pressing ahead even though there is no prospect of subsidy. However, there are growing calls for onshore wind to be eligible under the Contract for Difference (CfD) allocations.

Offshore, the position is clearly rather better with 3.2GW allocated in the second CfD allocation round in summer 2017, and potentially up to 10GW for the next round scheduled for spring 2019.

In this market, investor confidence is largely a function of political/policy support. The offshore sector, in particular, continues to attract new investors / classes of investor (admittedly mostly to consented projects with a secure path to subsidy). The rapidly falling costs of offshore wind development as the sector matures has also boosted investor confidence.

Not everything is perfect, but the UK grid system and other aspects of the regulation around power generation (although sometimes complex) are mature and generally fair. Obvious highlights include the OFTO regime; steps being taken to bring more competition into building of new network infrastructure; and the possibility of synergies between interconnector projects, offshore wind and novel uses of North Sea oil & gas assets.

Tender watch

UK In-Depth

Supply chain needs reassurance local content requirement 'is more than a PR exercise'

Supply chain needs reassurance local content requirement 'is more than a PR exercise'

The UK offshore wind sector deal was widely welcomed by the global offshore wind industry, but the country's supply chain needs to see money follow the talk, writes Ian Baylis, managing director at vessels supplier Seacat Services.

Viewpoint: How developers can prepare for UK onshore lifeline

Viewpoint: How developers can prepare for UK onshore lifeline

Following a UK government announcement that wind farms on remote islands will become eligible for support, onshore wind could be set for a comeback in the country. Mike Tavern explores the steps developers can take to maximise profitability

UK offshore wind 'on the right course'

UK offshore wind 'on the right course'

Today, more than ever, the UK needs to develop modern industries which can create thousands of skilled jobs and attract billions of pounds worth of infrastructure investment in the decades ahead, writes Benj Sykes, co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC).

WindEconomics: Managing variability costs rise with renewables

WindEconomics: Managing variability costs rise with renewables

The additional costs an electricity network incurs to manage variable sources such as wind and solar PV are a frequent topic for debate.

Analysis: UK keeps a tight rein on offshore expansion

Analysis: UK keeps a tight rein on offshore expansion

UK: Draft plans for the UK's next contracts for difference (CfD) budget for offshore wind may show a reduced ambition but there are still positive signals.

Latest UK News 

Repowering would 'help UK bridge energy gap'

Repowering onshore wind farms can help the UK towards meeting a looming clean energy deficit, according to analysis by a renewables lobbying group.

'Wind industry has to be better at sharing'

Restrictions on access to turbine performance data are preventing operators from reducing costs, according to a new white paper published by predictive maintenance services provider Onyx Insight.

Bilbao 2019: Brexit not affecting CfD competition

Brexit's looming spectre and the ongoing uncertainty it has caused has not deterred potential bidders in the UK's next offshore wind auction, according to government and industry.

Record year for UK wind

Wind farms provided a record 17.1% of the UK's electricity last year, according to provisional government figures, with renewables now powering a third of demand.

Iberdrola increases renewables investment pledge

Iberdrola plans to increase its investments through to 2022, with boosts planned for both the amount to be spent on renewables and clean energy's share of the total expenditure.

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