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

Onshore wind is UK litmus test

One of the last pieces of legislation passed through the UK parliament under the premiership of Theresa May set a target of net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. It was supported by the man who has succeeded her as prime minister, Boris Johnson.

Snapshot: 100 down, 74 to go at Hornsea

Snapshot: 100 down, 74 to go at Hornsea

Ørsted's has passed the halfway mark as it installs the 174 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines off the UK's east coast at what will be the world's biggest offshore wind farm.

Jobs and investment make the case for wind

Jobs and investment make the case for wind

RenewableUK's policy supremo Emma Pinchbeck tells Shaun Campbell why onshore wind is essential for the country's economy and net-zero target.

WindEconomics: How the UK reaches net-zero emissions by 2050

WindEconomics: How the UK reaches net-zero emissions by 2050

The UK government's Committee on Climate Change (CCC) mapped out the way for the country to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in a new report.

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.

Latest UK News 

UK backs green hydrogen pilots

A project backed by offshore wind developer Ørsted, a floating wind site, and a gin distillery are three initiatives that have secured funding as part of a £390 million UK government programme to support the advancement of clean hydrogen production.

Statkraft acquires UK onshore developer

Statkraft has acquired onshore wind developer Airvolution Clean Energy as part of its bid to have a 1.2GW renewables portfolio in the UK by 2025.

Banks Renewables' legal challenge halts CfD auction

UK developer Banks Group has launched a legal challenge against the UK government, claiming its contract for differences (CfD) support scheme discriminates in favour of offshore wind at the expense of onshore wind.

UK government urged to back onshore wind

A coalition of developers, trade bodies, investors and supply chain companies has written to the new UK energy minister pleading for support in developing new onshore wind capacity.

Is offshore transmission owner system 'unfit for purpose'?

As the UK targets more than tripling its offshore wind capacity over the next decade, questions are being raised on the best way to deliver this additional energy to the grid.

Subscribe to Windpower Monthly