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: 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.

Move over, London

Move over, London

UK: London Array has more than twice the number of turbines, but Ørsted'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.

Latest UK News 

Updated: Moray East reaches financial close

The 950MW Moray East project off the coast of Scotland has reached financial close, its developers have announced.

'Iron-based 10MW generator possible'

UK: The new chairman of electromagnetic engineers GreenSpur Renewables believes the company's plans for an up-to 10MW generator could disrupt manufacturers' preference for rare-earth elements (REEs).

UK offshore capped at €63/MWh for next auction

UK: A draft budget of £60 million (€67.4 million) has been allocated to the UK's next contracts for difference (CfD) auction, with a maximum bid price of £56/MWh (€63/MWh).

Repowering boosted UK projects' capacity by 171%

UK: The UK could benefit from an additional 5.5GW of capacity through repowering of onshore projects approaching the end of the 25-year licences, new research from Cardiff University suggested.

Cable deals signed for two UK projects

UK: Agreements have been signed for export cable systems at two offshore wind farms off the UK with a combined capacity of more than 2GW.

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