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UK opens latest renewables auction window

Offshore wind likely to dominate contract-for-difference process that remote island projects can also enter

The UK has officially fired the starting pistol on its next contract-for-difference (CfD) support round, with global offshore wind heavyweights set to enter projects.

The latest auction aims to contract up to 6GW of capacity and follows a plunge in costs to as low as £57.50/MWh over two rounds in 2015 and 2017.

For the first time, ‘remote island’ onshore wind farms will be eligible to take part and compete with offshore wind projects – although analysts have questioned whether they can expect much success.

UK treads softly on CfD review as giants line up for auction

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Bidders could include Iberdrola’s ScottishPower Renewables for the 1.2GW East Anglia 3; Norway’s Equinor with UK utility SSE for the first of several giant projects on the Dogger Bank; Innogy, a unit of German utility RWE, plans to take part with its 1.2GW Sofia project also in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea.

In Scotland the first Seagreen Wind Energy 1.5GW – Alpha and Bravo – projects being developed by SSE in the Firth of Forth zone are expected to be entered into the bidding round, along with the 784MW, Chinese-controlled Inch Cape.

Global offshore wind sector pacesetter Orsted confirmed it won't be involved this time.

The UK energy department BEIS set the offshore wind CfD administrative strike prices at £56/MWh for 2023/2024 and £53/MWh for 2024/2025 delivery. Remote island onshore wind has been set at £82/MWh for both delivery years.

The deadline for registrations is 18 June, with the auction itself set to be held in October and winners notified in November.

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