The ‘biggest ever’ round of the UK government’s flagship renewable energy support scheme is opening to applications today (Monday, 13 December), with £285 million available a year for building the next generation of Great Britain’s green energy projects.

Renewable energy projects across Great Britain can now bid for funding in the fourth round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, which is aiming to secure 12GW of electricity capacity – more renewable capacity than the previous 3 rounds combined. The additional offshore wind capacity resulting from the funding alone could generate enough electricity to power around 8 million homes.

While it is the biggest pot of money in one single auction, the vast majority of it (circa £275 out of £285m) is for tidal and offshore tech, with £10m for onshore solar/wind.

Compared to the previous round, this is open to an expanded number of renewable energy technologies, with offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, tidal and floating offshore wind projects, amongst others, all eligible to bid for funding in the scheme’s auction process – this will ensure we have a more secure, more resilient energy system and support the UK’s transition to net zero through a greater range of energy sources.

The competitive nature of the CfD scheme has been hugely successful in driving the deployment of renewable energy across Great Britain whilst rapidly reducing costs. The scheme’s design has led to the price per unit of offshore wind to fall by around 65% between the first allocation round (AR) in 2015 and the third in 2019.

Key points (£ budgets in 2011/2012 prices):

Pot 1: Established technologies (includes Onshore wind, Solar and Hydro):

  • £10 million pot budget
  • 5GW capacity cap
  • maximum capacity limits of 3.5GW imposed on both onshore wind and solar PV

Pot 2: Less-established technologies (includes Floating Offshore Wind, Tidal Stream, Geothermal and Wave):

  • £75 million pot budget
  • no capacity cap
  • within the £75 million total, £20 million ringfenced funding for tidal stream projects and £24 million initially ringfenced funding for floating offshore wind projects

Pot 3: Offshore wind:

  • £200 million pot budget
  • no capacity cap

The latest round of the CfD scheme supports the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which outlines an ambitious vision of a low-carbon future for the UK, and will ensure that clean energy continues to play a key role in ending our contribution to climate change entirely by 2050.

Article source: Defra.gov

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