Biggest-ever UK renewables auction offers record-low price offshore wind contracts


UK’s biggest-ever renewables auction was held on July 7 and awarded record capacity of almost 11GW of clean energy, nearly double the capacity achieved in the previous round. 

The fourth round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme offered contracts to offshore wind at a record-low price, which was 5.8% lower than the previous auction.

The sources of 11GW of clean energy secured in the auction include offshore wind, solar, onshore wind, and, for the first time ever, floating offshore wind and tidal stream. The total capacity is enough to power around 12 million British homes.

Among all sources, offshore wind projects secured the greatest capacity at 7GW. These turbines will increase the UK’s overall renewable energy capacity built and under construction by 35% and bring UK a step closer to its goal of installing 50GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Onshore wind and solar energy were both included in the auction for the first time since 2015. The British government also offered contracts for almost 900 MW of onshore wind farms at a price that was more than 45% lower than in the first CfD round in 2015.

The scheme has continued to place downward pressure on prices. The per unit (MWh) price of offshore wind secured in this round is almost 70% less than that secured in the first allocation round, in 2015.

The fourth round also saw developing technologies tidal stream return a capacity of 41 MW and floating offshore wind return 32 MW.

UK has struggled to deal with the soaring power prices due to a surge in the cost of natural gas following the Russia-Ukraine war. Business and Energy Secretary of UK Kwasi Kwarteng said that “The more cheap, clean power we generate within our own borders, the better protected we will be from volatile gas prices that are pushing up bills.”

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