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Onshore wind: new threat to auction process could see industry grind to halt

Posted on 24/06/2015 by Nick Sharpe

Onshore wind: new threat to auction process could see industry grind to halt

Renewables chief calls for urgent clarity after comments to Parliament 

Confidence in the UK’s onshore wind sector has been further hit by hints in the UK Parliament that ministers may remove the technology from the Government’s new competitive auction process.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of trade body Scottish Renewables, said wind being blocked from the Contracts for Difference scheme “would result in a massive and dramatic decline in development”.

When asked whether onshore wind projects could access the new Contracts for Difference auction, UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd yesterday (June 22) told the House of Commons: “In respect of contracts for difference, we would be implementing the terms of our manifesto”.

This announcement came less than a week after Rudd announced the early closure of the Renewables Obligation scheme, imperilling 250 onshore wind projects.

Speaking at his organisation’s Onshore Wind Conference in Edinburgh today (June 23), Mr Stuart said: “Yesterday’s announcement serves to further undermine the confidence of Scotland’s onshore wind industry.

“The UK Government has stated that early closure of the Renewables Obligation will stop some 250 projects dead in their tracks across the UK, but pushing onshore wind out of Contracts for Difference altogether could see development almost completely grind to a halt.

“The competitive pressures of the Contracts for Difference auction process have already driven down the costs of new onshore wind projects by around 15% and continued allocation could potentially see wind competitive with all new forms of generation by the end of this decade.

"It makes no sense to stop that progress, or to exclude the cheapest form of renewables deployable at scale from bidding in the next allocation round.

"Together these steps would result in a massive and dramatic decline in development, and the jobs and investments that go along with this.

“Given the incredibly fragile mood in the renewables sector it is now vital that the Secretary of State provides the industry with clarity on the UK Government’s intentions.”


Notes to Editors:

1. Images of Niall Stuart are available to download here.

2. UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd's comments to Parliament on June 22 can be found here.

Nick Sharpe

Director of Communications