The UK handed green power deals to some of the world’s largest offshore wind projects in a record-sized near-11GW renewable energy auction.
Fixed-bottom offshore wind projects totaling just under 7GW were winners of 15-year contract-for-difference (CfD) power deals, including Orsted ‘s Hornsea 3, the developer’s largest so far at just shy of 2.9GW.
Other winning offshore projects were: ESB and Red Rock’s Inch Cape at 1.1GW, Iberdrola’s 1.4GW East Anglia 3, Vattenfall’s 1.4GW Norfolk Boreas, and 290MW at Ocean Winds’ Moray West.
The fixed-bottom offshore projects came in with ‘strike prices’ of £37.35/MWh at 2012 prices ($44.6/MWh), below the £39.65/MWh seen in the last round in 2019. Industry group RenewableUK pointed out that power has been trading at above £150/MWh for much of this year.
The UK also awarded a historic first floating wind contract – 32MW at WaveHub’s TwinHub project, which came in at a strike price of £87.3/MWh.
The offshore wind projects will play a key role in meeting the ambition of the government led – now only temporarily after he announced on Thursday that he will step down – by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for 50GW installed by 2030 up from less than 11GW now.
Johnson consciously tied himself to offshore wind as a political symbol of industrial regeneration in northeast England, an area where he achieved electoral success, and regularly boasted of his ambition to make the UK "the Saudi Arabia of wind power".
Onshore wind projects were awarded 900MW and utility-scale solar 2.2GW as they returned to the UK CfD scheme for the first time since 2015.
Notable winners on land included the 443MW Viking Wind Farm under development by SSE on Scotland's Shetland, which secured a CfD deal for half its capacity at £46.39/MWh.
Renewable UK deputy CEO Melanie Onn said: “Today’s record-breaking auction results show that there is a way to replace unaffordable gas with low-cost clean power generated by a wide range of renewable technologies led by wind, both offshore and onshore. Thanks to the rapid construction times of new onshore wind and solar sites, billpayers will start to feel the benefits of today’s auction next year.”
Solar PV above 5MW: 2.2GW, strike price £45.99/MWh
Onshore Wind: 888MW, £42.47/MWh
Remote Island Onshore Wind: 598MW, 46.39/MWh
Tidal Stream: 41MW, £178.54/MWh
Floating Wind: 32MW. £87.30/MWh
Offshore Wind: 7GW: £37.35/MWh