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BEIS to allow onshore wind and solar to bid for support

Published March 28, 2020

BEIS to allow onshore wind and solar to bid for support

The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has set out details for the next round of the Contracts for Difference scheme. For the first time in years, the scheme will be open to renewable sources, including onshore wind and solar.

Onshore wind and solar will be able to compete for subsidies under the scheme alongside floating offshore wind. The scheme will also be altered to allow for energy storage.

The public will have more of a say on any new onshore wind developments, particularly those likely to affect them. Effectively they will be able to give the go-ahead to new windfarm and solar projects.

This decision comes four years after the UK government under then Prime Minister David Cameron had scrapped subsidies for new onshore wind projects. However, in its bid for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the UK now needs to quadruple renewable energy generation and, in the next 15 years, triple its onshore wind power capacity

“It’s going to be hard enough reaching net zero using all the technologies at our disposal; we can’t afford to rule out any low-carbon option, provided it is deployed sensitively, especially one like onshore wind, which is amongst the cheapest forms of renewable power generation,” said Jeremy Nicholson, Alfa Energy Group’s Corporate Affairs Officer.

As there have been sharp reductions in the cost of wind and solar power, industry experts claim that new projects should not add to energy bills, and in the long-term will only help the UK, and the world, reach its net zero target on time.

“This is good news – onshore wind and solar are among the cheaper renewable energy technologies, and the move to reintroduce them into the CfD shows the government knows that no low-carbon technologies should be taken off the table when considering decarbonisation. It’s also a sign of the government resisting lobbying: the Cameron government in 2015 initially removed these ‘Pot 1’ technologies from the CfD largely as a result of pressure from NIMBY activism,” added Nick Fedson, a Sustainability Manager at Alfa Energy Group.

This round of the auction will take place next year, and it will ostensibly allow new onshore wind and solar projects to be up and running by mid-decade.