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Government investment boost for renewable energy schemes

NCE stock energy

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to invest in renewable electricity projects, with £730M pledged to be spent over this parliament.

It has also set out further details for the next Contracts for Difference auction where companies will compete for the first £290M worth of contracts for renewable electricity projects.

The second Contracts for Difference auction will result in enough renewable electricity to power around 1M homes and reduce carbon emissions by around 2.5M.t per year from 2021/22 onwards.

“We’re sending a clear signal that Britain is one of the best places in the world to invest in clean, flexible energy as we continue to upgrade our energy infrastructure,” said business and energy secretary Greg Clark.

“This is a key part of our upcoming Industrial Strategy, which will provide companies with the further support they need to innovate as we build a diverse energy system fit for the 21st century that is reliable while keeping bills down for our families and businesses.”

The government has also set out proposals for the next steps to phase out electricity generation from unabated coal-fired power stations within the next decade.

The intention to take unabated coal out of the energy mix was first announced in November last year.

It is also looking to end uncertainty over whether onshore wind projects on remote islands should be treated differently from onshore wind projects on mainland Great Britain. A consultation is being launched today (9 November) asking for views that either support or oppose this position, which will be reviewed to provide a comprehensive answer.

Civils contractors welcomed the plans to invest in UK energy infrastructure and renewables, but called on decision makers to reverse current policy position that remote wind projects should be treated the same as onshore wind.

“The UK is facing a substantial energy gap by 2026 where demand for electricity is likely to outpace supply by over 40%,” said Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Ceca) head of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming.

“One of the most notable opportunities for future intermittent renewable generation exists in the remote isles of the UK, including the Western Isles and Shetland. However, investment valued at up to £1.3bn in the remote isles is currently constrained by a number of factors including connections to the wider grid, and subsidy support.

“This investment could benefit in Scotland’s islands economies by up to £725M over the next 25 years.

“In order for these benefits to be delivered, we hope that the government will change its policy position and deliver an exemption for non-mainland British onshore wind, and we welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation.”

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