There is a surge in capacity of onshore wind and solar projects with planning consent in anticipation of more Government-backed contracts being available later this year. With public attention focussed on offshore wind the increasing amounts of onshore wind and solar projects awaiting commercial opportunities are being ignored. Yet (on top of those projects already under construction) already there is enough renewable energy projects with planning consent to supply over 3 per cent of UK electricity generation. Indeed, these projects are stuck in a sort of limbo-land – some of them would be able to go ahead as ‘subsidy-free’ schemes (supported by power purchase agreements – PPAs – from large companies). But the developers are waiting for Government-backed contracts to be offered. Ultimately, they may not derive any more income from such contracts than going so-called subsidy-free, but the generation prices would be guaranteed for 15 years, something that will make it easier to bring investors and lenders on board. The Government promised last year to open up a tranche of ‘contracts for difference’ (CfDs) for onshore renewable projects to be available for competitive tender in around September of this year. But it is uncertain whether this will take in a lot of projects, or just a nominal few. Clearly, the argument against onshore wind and solar farms that they have problems getting planning approval does not apply if they have already got planning consent!
100% Renewables 5th April 2021 read more »