UK subsidy policy turnaround brings onshore wind out of the cold

The UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced far-reaching changes to its Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, allowing onshore wind to compete for government subsidisation.

The move is an about-turn in policy after government-funded support for new onshore wind projects was scrapped in 2015, with the UK Committee on Climate Change calling for a four-fold increase in renewable energy capacity in order to meet the country’s legally-binding 2050 net-zero decarbonisation target.

The floating offshore wind sector is also set to benefit from the revised CfD regulations, as it allows for wind generation further offshore, increasing wind generation capacity.

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Further amendments to the scheme are expected to support the deployment of energy storage to support energy requirements in poor generation conditions.

The government has indicated that tough new guidelines for renewable energy producers are also on the cards, to ensure that local communities have a definitive say in the development of projects in projects that affect them.

The policy change is hoped to boost local employment by some 20,600 jobs, and drive up exports by £628 million ($804 million) each year.

Secretary of State for Business and Energy Alok Sharma said “Ending our contribution to climate change means making the UK a world leader in renewable energy.

“We are determined to do that in a way that works for everyone, listening to local communities and giving them an effective voice in decisions that affect them.”

RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “The government is pressing ahead with action to meet our net zero emissions target quickly and at lowest cost to consumers and businesses. Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy.”

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