UK projects binned over auctions

A developer has blamed UK government policy shifts for its decision to abandon 70MW of planned onshore wind at two projects in England.

Community Windpower said it will not be proceeding with the Davidstow and Claughton Moor wind farms in Cornwall and Lancaster respectively.

The company, which claims 300MW of operating and consented UK wind, said the decision follows the power market reforms the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will bring online over the next few years – and specifically its plans to introduce auctions for onshore wind contracts.

Industry body RenewableUK warned late last year that the government risked sending “shockwaves” through the onshore sector if it rushes developers towards a competitive system.

The move would see the “mature technologies” of onshore wind, PV and small-hydro fight it out on cost grounds for a share of the spoils available under the new support arrangements.

Community Windpower managing director Rod Wood said: “It is really disappointing to...write off millions of pounds of investment.

“The government has been constantly shifting its position on UK renewables and it’s now planning to rush through an auction process which is likely to crash the price at best, or in the worst case, stop generators selling green energy altogether.”

The developer claimed previous auctions “simply didn’t work.

“UK and overseas investors have hundreds of millions invested in the development of green energy in the UK – all invested on the basis of a fixed strike price until 2020 and any U‐turn will completely undermine this investment,” said Wood.

The move wrecks the £100m ($165m) potential economic benefits for the two communities, he added.

Local planning approval had been sought for the Cornwall wind farm, with a decision still pending. Claughton Moor had been turned down and an appeal was being considered.