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: Nuclear escalates as wind prices keep falling

WindEconomics: Nuclear escalates as wind prices keep falling

Nuclear power is too expensive. That is the implicit conclusion of the UK government, which has issued a consultation document on possible ways of reducing the electricity price.

Faces of protests on the streets of London

Faces of protests on the streets of London

Undeterred by a police-enforced ban and more than 1,800 arrests, Extinction Rebellion's climate -change protests in the streets and squares of London continue.

WindEconomics: US costs fall as turbine ratings increase

WindEconomics: US costs fall as turbine ratings increase

The latest report from the Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory (LBNL) in the US chronicles the continuing development of wind energy, accompanied by steady falls in costs of both projects and energy.

Milestones on the road to 10GW

Milestones on the road to 10GW

As the UK becomes the first country in the world to reach 10GW of offshore wind, Windpower Monthly looks back at the most significant steps over the past 20 years.

Easy does it: the art of a gentle cable pull

Easy does it: the art of a gentle cable pull

Connecting the world's largest offshore wind project to the grid required a new approach and a delicate touch, writes Mike Morrison, global head of Sparrows Group Cable and Pipe Lay Solutions (CPLS).

Latest UK News 

Oil and gas sector's lessons for floating offshore wind

Learning from the oil and gas industry can help accelerate floating offshore wind development and cut costs, according to attendees at a RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables conference.

Asia Pacific to drive 'global market to 2030'

"Significant capacity additions" in Asia Pacific are expected to drive a 29% growth in the value of the global wind power market between 2019 and 2030, reaching $124.6 billion by the end of the forecasting period, according to new analysis.

US and China to 'challenge UK's top offshore spot'

The UK is likely to retain its position as world leader in installed offshore wind capacity over the next few years, but will face challenges from the US and China as the technology becomes more attractive in markets beyond western Europe, according to new analysis.

Onshore sites in Scotland risk losing permits

Roughly 1.6GW of ready to build onshore wind capacity is facing expiration of building permits as the UK's continued "ban" bites.

Scottish offshore wind council targets 8GW by 2030

An industry-government partnership has been launched to help boost Scottish offshore wind capacity to at least 8GW by 2030.

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