The UK government’s premier renewable energy support plan is accepting applications for the first time on December 13, with £285 million available every year to create the next generation of green energy projects in the country. Renewable energy projects from throughout the UK can now apply for financing in the 4th round of the CfD (Contracts for Difference) initiative, which aims to acquire 12GW of electricity capacity, which is more than the previous three rounds combined. The money alone might generate enough energy to power nearly 8 million homes with increased offshore wind capacity.
In comparison to the previous round, this round is open to a broader range of renewable energy tools, with solar, tidal, offshore wind, onshore wind, and floating offshore wind initiatives, amongst many others, all able to qualify to bid for funding in the scheme’s auction process – ensuring a more safe, more resilient energy scheme and supporting the UK’s transition to net zero through a wider range of energy sources.
The CfD scheme’s competitive character has been extremely successful in accelerating the installation of renewable energy across the United Kingdom while simultaneously lowering costs. Between first AR (allocation round) in the year 2015 as well as the third in 2019, the price for every unit of the offshore wind fell by roughly 65 percent due to the scheme’s architecture.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of Business and Energy, said:
Our largest-ever renewables auction, which begins today, will cement the UK’s position as a global leader in renewable energy while also supporting new, future-proof companies across the country that will generate new employment. We can assure greater energy independence in the UK by generating additional renewable energy and moving away from unpredictable global fossil fuel pricing, all while lowering the cost of new energy.
The fourth round will receive a total budget of £285 million per year, with £200 million set aside for the offshore wind, about £75 million for the emerging technologies like a tidal stream, remote island wind, and floating offshore wind, and £10 million set aside for established technologies like solar and onshore wind. Within emerging technologies, the government has set aside £24 million per year for the floating offshore wind initiatives and £20 million for tidal stream projects, highlighting the government’s support for the new, innovative technologies which can help the UK meet its decarbonization goals.
The £20 million per year funding for tidal stream projects is the most significant investment in tidal power in one generation, ushering in a new age for the tidal industry while also potentially creating jobs across the UK. For the first time since 2015, onshore solar and wind power are competing in the allocation round, and the government is looking for large capacity from these technologies to assist fulfill the required levels of deployment to meet climate change targets.