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

Move over, London

Move over, London

UK: London Array has more than twice the number of turbines, but ├śrsted's Walney Extension project in the Irish Sea is now, officially, offshore wind's largest operating project at 659MW.

WindEconomics: Boost for renewables over nuclear in the UK

WindEconomics: Boost for renewables over nuclear in the UK

UK: Britain's National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has delivered a resounding vote of confidence in renewable energy by recommending that the UK aims for 50% renewable-electricity generation by 2030. It suggests only one more contract for a nuclear power station before 2025.

Floating pioneers undaunted by challenges

Floating pioneers undaunted by challenges

UK: Realism over the challenges that floating offshore faces was balanced by optimism that they will be overcome as experts gathered at the Windpower Monthly forum.

WindEconomics: UK government steps up support for nuclear power

WindEconomics: UK government steps up support for nuclear power

UK/GERMANY: In a complete policy reversal, the UK government has announced it will consider direct investment in a proposed new nuclear power station, Wylfa in North Wales.

Back to the future

Back to the future

UK: In bringing the UK's generation fleet into the 21st century with its latest offshore wind farm, sometimes you have to go back 4,000 years. This is what ScottishPower Renewables has done at the East Anglia One project, uncovering a rare neolithic trackway and animal skulls in the process.

Latest UK News 

Crown Estate upgrades UK round 4 to 7GW

UK: The Crown Estate said it could offer up to 7GW in new offshore wind capacity areas in its fourth leasing round.

UK firm SSE sets up renewables unit

UK: Utility SSE has launched a new business unit to incorporate all of its renewable energy assets to provide more focus on its clean energy generation.

Ex-SGRE CFO joins 10MW generator designer

UK: Former SGRE chief financial officer (CFO) Andrew Hall has been appointed the new chairman of a company planning to unveil an up-to 10MW generator design early next year.

Massive energy storage growth expected in UK

UK: Applications for energy storage projects in the UK have grown from 2MW in 2012, to over 6.8GW in 2018, according to trade body RenewableUK.

First power at Kincardine floating project

UK: First power has been achieved at the Kincardine wind farm floating 15 kilometres off the Scottish North Sea coast.

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