The government has confirmed up to £557m for new renewable energy auctions

Courtney Goldsmith
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Report Claims 20 Percent Of US's Energy Could Come From Wind Power
Offshore wind prices dropped by around 50 per cent in the last auction (Source: Getty)

The government has confirmed up to £557m of funding for the next auctions for less-established renewable electricity projects as part of its clean growth strategy.

The government's clean growth strategy, which will be published this week, will include proposals on housing, business, transport and the environment as well as the power sector.

"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," said energy minister Richard Harrington.

Read more: JP Morgan is going green with 2020 renewable energy commitment

The UK's emissions have fallen by more than a third since 1990 while the economy has grown by two thirds, and analysis by PwC has shown the UK is decarbonising faster than any other G20 nation.

The government's next contracts for difference (CfD) auction is planned for spring 2019.

Under this scheme, qualifying projects are guaranteed a minimum price at which they can sell electricity. Renewable power firms then bid for CfD contracts in a round of auctions.

In the latest CfD auction, the cost of new offshore wind power fell by 50 per cent to below new nuclear generation for the first time. The auction resulted in over 3 gigawatts of new generation, which could power 3.6m homes.

"The UK government took a bet on offshore wind and the industry delivered in style last month," said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK. "Offshore wind has the ability to deliver thousands of jobs, attract billions in foreign investment and secure hundreds of international product and service contracts for British companies."

James Court, head of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, said the government has not done enough to support other forms of cheap, clean energy like solar, onshore wind and biomass.

“The energy market is changing rapidly, with cheaper renewables, a more decentralised grid, smart meters and battery storage driving this revolution. Yet the UK will be left behind globally if the government don’t start supporting the industry and we will be left with a higher cost, higher carbon and out of date system that we will all end up paying for."

The government specified its funding would focus on less-established renewables, and Reuters reported this category will include offshore wind, biomass, energy-from-waste technologies and some combined heat and power projects.

Harrington added the clean growth strategy will set out how the whole of the UK can benefit from the global move to a low carbon economy and will ensure Britain remains a global leader.

Read more: Renewables poised to cause a major disruption to UK utilities by 2030

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