UK Looks to Widen Renewables Support Scheme

Credit: nuttawutnuy/AdobeStock
Credit: nuttawutnuy/AdobeStock

Britain plans to widen its flagship renewable energy support scheme to encourage investment in the sector, the government said on Monday as it opened a consultation on the proposed changes. 

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the government's mechanism for supporting new British low-carbon electricity generation projects, such as offshore wind and solar projects.

Under CfD, generators are guaranteed a fixed, pre-agreed price for the electricity they provide over the term of the contract and sell their low-carbon energy into the market.

The scheme to-date has supported 26.1 gigawatts (GW) of low carbon projects, but the government said changes were needed "in face of the deployment challenges currently faced by the renewable energy industry".

A potential reform of the scheme could see applicants also being rewarded for "non-price" factors, such as supply chain sustainability or addressing skills gaps and innovation, the department for business, energy and industrial strategy said in a statement.

This could help drive investment in the sector, expand the economy and boost Britain's energy security, it added.

"Factors such as inflation, commodity price increases, and pressure from international competition mean that the UK will have to continue working hard to pull in the investment required to reach our Net Zero and energy security goals," Adam Berman, deputy director for advocacy at Energy UK, an energy industry trade association, was quoted as saying in the government's statement.

The government has set targets for big increases in wind power generation, for instance, as it seeks to meet a goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and become more independent of imported energy after supply disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last month Britain set out more plans to boost energy security and tackle emissions, but critics said a lack of new investment and incentives meant it failed to provide any new boost for the country's green energy sector.

The consultation closes on May 22.

(Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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