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

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.

OPINION: Offshore plan falling on deaf ears

OPINION: Offshore plan falling on deaf ears

The optics, as they say in political circles, were not good. The UK's offshore wind industry leaders gathered at Manchester for the sector's annual conference, confident that their ambitious growth plans would be supported by an address from the government's energy and clean growth minister.

Latest UK News 

MHI Vestas prepares for Isle of Wight expansion

UK: Vestas is relocating its testing related activities on the Isle of Wight to make room for potential future expansion being considered by its offshore wind joint venture (JV) with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Ørsted sells 50% of Hornsea One

UK: Ørsted has agreed to divest half of its 1.2GW Hornsea Project One to investment firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in an initial deal worth more than £3.5 billion (€3.9 billion).

Update: Triton Knoll onshore cabling work begins

UK: Construction work is about to start on the cable route for the 860MW Triton Knoll offshore wind farm.

Vattenfall's EOWDC officially online

UK: Vattenfall has completed the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), which includes the world's most powerful commercially available turbines, off the east of Scotland.

World's largest offshore wind project online

UK: Danish developer Ørsted has officially placed its 659MW Walney Extension online, surpassing the 630MW London Array site as the world's largest offshore wind project.

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