UK names FIDE project top-10

The UK government has further honed the list of UK renewable projects likely to receive an early Contract for Difference under its new support regime – and confirmed that competition for future subsidies is high on the agenda from the start of the new system.

Two weeks ago the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said a list of 16 projects had met the minimum criteria under the so-called Final Investment Decision Enabling (FIDE) mechanism, including seven offshore wind developments.

FIDE is designed to help keep the renewables project pipeline rolling during the policy transition between the current regime and the and new CfD-based system.

DECC today said all 16 had been sent draft investment contracts - but revealed a shorter list of 10 that have been deemed “provisionally affordable”, and presumably first in line for a share of the support allotted to the FIDE process.

That list includes the Burbo Bank extension, Walney Extension and Hornsea projects - all under development by Dong Energy – plus the Dudgeon project by Norwegian partners Statoil and Statkraft. The Heckington Fen and Beinn Mhor onshore wind projects are also in the top 10.

Among the six projects outside the top 10 are the Neart na Gaoithe, Inch Cape and Beatrice developments – all off Scotland.

DECC said no final decision will be made until spring 2014, by which time the applicants will need to have submitted a binding application for an investment contract.

The government also warned the provisional rankings could change if projects drop out or changes to projects lead to an alteration in their affordability under its criteria.

UK energy secretary Ed Davey said the launch of the EMR Delivery Plan – following the passage into law of the Energy Bill yesterday – “is expected to attract around £40bn of investment in renewable electricity by 2020”.

It confirmed the final CfD strike prices unveiled two weeks ago, including extra support for offshore wind to that originally proposed.

DECC said its modelling suggests 10GW of new offshore wind is "achievable" by 2020 under the strike prices - an assertion some analysts have questioned.

Davey also confirmed that the UK is considering “introducing competition for more established low carbon technologies”,  with a decision due early next year.

This would keep the UK in line with the EU’s desire to see member states use tenders as the basis for future allocation of major renewables support.