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Over £500m for next clean energy auctions

Words: Laura Edgar
Clean energy / Shutterstock_185220971

The government has announced that up to £557 million will be available for the next clean electricity auctions.

The news comes ahead of the launch of the Clean Growth Strategy, set to be published this week.

Energy minister Richard Harrington said that since 1990, the UK’s emissions had reduced by more than a third.

The strategy aims to build on this and “ensure Britain remains a global leader in the move towards a low-carbon economy”, making sure the country benefits from new technologies, jobs and businesses that are good for consumers, the environment and the economy.

The strategy would see developers compete for the £557 million funding for Contracts for Difference auctions.

Harrington said: “We’ve shown beyond doubt that renewable energy projects are an effective way to cut our emissions, while creating thousands of good jobs and attracting billions of pounds worth of investment.

“The Clean Growth Strategy will look across the whole of the economy and the country. It includes ambitious proposals on housing, business, transport and the environment, as well as the power sector. It will also show how actions taken to tackle emissions have helped to reduce energy bills for households.”

The next Contracts for Difference auction is planned for spring 2019.

Hugh McNeal, chief executive at RenewableUK, said: “This announcement secures cheap, home-grown, clean energy for the UK. [Energy secretary] Greg Clark’s department is helping to build a world-leading offshore wind industry which can power a clean industrial revolution, creating new jobs and attracting billions of new investment.

“The government’s investment and long-term strategy for offshore wind is delivering great economic benefits all around the country. Now we need the government to show the same level of commitment to our cutting-edge wave and tidal energy industries. Innovative floating offshore wind technology also offers new opportunities. Ministers should send a clear signal that they understand the many ways our island nation can tap the enormous and diverse energy resources in our seas, and export these industries globally”.

Alasdair Cameron, renewables campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said the investment will help to keep the UK at the forefront of the offshore wind revolution.

The government however, must show “even greater” ambition to fully develop the nation’s huge renewable energy potential.

“Investment in offshore wind is encouraging, but we must see more action on energy efficiency, electric vehicles and other renewables for the government’s clean growth strategy to really get to grips with the challenges and opportunities of tackling climate change.”

In a later statement, the government said it intends to allow wind projects on the remote islands of Scotland to compete in the next auction for less established renewable technologies.

Harrington said:”Scotland already has a strong record in exploiting the potential of clean growth, with more than half of Scottish electricity consumption coming from renewable sources.

“We want to go further, creating thousands of good jobs and attracting billions of pounds worth of investment. That’s why we are ensuring that remote island wind projects in Scotland, which have the potential to benefit the island communities directly, have access to the same funding opportunities as offshore wind in the next renewables auction round.”

Read more:

Three offshore wind farms awarded contracts by government 

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