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: 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.

Viewpoint: How developers can prepare for UK onshore lifeline

Viewpoint: How developers can prepare for UK onshore lifeline

Following a UK government announcement that wind farms on remote islands will become eligible for support, onshore wind could be set for a comeback in the country. Mike Tavern explores the steps developers can take to maximise profitability

UK offshore wind 'on the right course'

UK offshore wind 'on the right course'

Today, more than ever, the UK needs to develop modern industries which can create thousands of skilled jobs and attract billions of pounds worth of infrastructure investment in the decades ahead, writes Benj Sykes, co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC).

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.

Latest UK News 

'Prioritise onshore wind', UK told

The UK government should prioritise creating a route to market for onshore wind and solar PV as part of its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report.

Zero-carbon generation surpasses fossils on UK grid

The UK's grid has reached a "tipping point" and is now predominantly powered by zero-carbon energy sources, according to the UK's transmission system operator, National Grid.

'World's most powerful iron-based generator' to begin testing

Electromagnetic engineering firm GreenSpur Renewables is to begin testing what it claims is the world's most powerful ferrite-based direct-drive permanent magnet generator, but questions over funding remain.

Batteries included: UK's biggest onshore wind farm adds 50MW storage

Iberdrola's UK subsidiary ScottishPower is adding a 50MW lithium-ion battery - one of the largest in the UK - to its 539MW Whitelee onshore wind project in Scotland.

New plans unveiled for UK's largest onshore wind farm

A developer has proposed building an up to 560MW wind farm that could become the UK's largest onshore project.

Subscribe to Windpower Monthly