Government pledges £265m more each year to support renewable energy

The fourth round of the Contracts For Difference scheme will double the amount of renewable energy generated from the previous funding tranche.

August Graham
Monday 13 September 2021 12:26
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to nearly quadruple offshore wind by 2030 (Jane Barlow/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to nearly quadruple offshore wind by 2030 (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Government will invest £265 million per year to prop up renewable energy production as it tries to ensure that Britain’s offshore wind production quadruples in the next nine years.

It will set aside money for offshore wind projects and support newer technologies, such as tidal power.

It is part of the Contracts For Difference scheme, which guarantees energy producers a minimum price for ever megawatt hour of electricity they produce.

During the fourth iteration of the scheme, details of which were announced on Monday, the Government will try to secure twice the capacity of the third round.

This will generate more electricity than the three previous rounds combined, the Government said.

The first round of contracts was launched in 2014.

In the latest funding, £200 million will go to supporting offshore wind. The UK currently has a little over 10 gigawatts of offshore capacity and the Government has pledged that this will reach 40 gigawatts by 2030.

It said that £24 million has been set aside for floating wind turbines – unlike most current turbines, which have to be attached to the seabed.

Money will also, for the first time since 2015, go to onshore wind and solar projects, mainly in Scotland and Wales.

Although only £10 million has been earmarked for these projects, the plan is to encourage 5 gigawatts in new capacity.

Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The Contracts for Difference scheme has helped the UK become a world leader in clean electricity generation and lowered prices for consumers.

“The new plans set out today deliver on the Prime Minister’s 10-Point Plan and will support the next generation of renewable electricity projects needed to power our homes and meet our world-leading climate change targets.”

Businesses bid to be Contract for Difference developers, with those who say they can produce energy the cheapest in each category selected for funding.

There are three categories: Established technologies, including onshore wind, solar and hydropower; less-established technologies, such as floating wind turbines, tidal, and geothermal power; and offshore wind.

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