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UK government announces £557 million of support for green energy, including biomass CHP

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 The UK’s Energy Minister Richard Harrington has confirmed that £557m (€621 million) will be made available for less established renewable electricity technologies for future Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions, starting with the next auction in 2019.

The news forms part of the government’s ‘Clean Growth Strategy’ to drive economic growth and clean up the energy system.

Since 1990 the UK’s emissions are down by more than a third while the economy has grown by two-thirds. Low-carbon generation provided more than half (52%) our electricity this summer, according to National Grid, while PwC analysis shows the UK decarbonising faster than any other G20 nation.

The Clean Growth Strategy, which will be published this week, will build on this success and ensure Britain remains a global leader in the move towards a low-carbon economy. It will ensure the whole country can benefit from new technologies, jobs and businesses that are good for consumers, the environment and the economy.

As part of the strategy, developers will compete for up to £557 million of funding in Contracts for Difference auctions which drive down energy costs for consumers and increase business confidence. The latest auction saw the cost of new offshore wind fall by 50% compared to the first auction held in 2015 and resulted in over 3GW of new generation which could power 3.6 million homes.

Technologies such as offshore wind, energy from waste, marine and biomass CHP will be focused on. However, the government will not be investing in biomass conversion.

Response

Energy Minister Richard Harrington said: “The government’s Clean Growth Strategy will set out how the whole of the UK can benefit from the global move to a low-carbon economy.

“We’ve shown beyond doubt that renewable energy projects are an effective way to cut our emissions, while creating thousands of good jobs and attracting billions of pounds worth of investment.”

Commenting on the report, James Court, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the Renewable Energy Association said: “The last auction showed what government support and consistency can do for an industry, with offshore wind showing incredible cost reductions.

“Yet we still find ourselves in a situation where the government will support new nuclear, new gas, new diesel, yet won’t support the most cost effective technologies such as solar, onshore wind and biomass, which are still blocked to market.

“The energy market is changing rapidly, with cheaper renewables, a more decentralised grid, smart meters and battery storage driving this revolution. Yet the UK will be left behind globally if the government don’t start supporting the industry and we will be left with a higher cost, higher carbon and out of date system that we will all end up paying for.”

 This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight.