Tag Archives: Green Energy

Millions more UK homes to be powered by renewables

Details of the next round of the Contracts for Difference scheme, which opens in 2021, have been set out today, Monday 2 March.

This latest round will be open to renewable technologies including onshore wind and solar, with proposals to include floating offshore wind. The scheme will also be changed to facilitate the deployment of energy storage.

Local communities will have a more effective voice on developments that impact them, through proposals for tough new guidance on community engagement for developers of onshore wind across Great Britain, also announced today. They will have a definitive say on whether projects are allowed to proceed. It will remain the case that no English onshore wind project can proceed without the consent of the local community.

The Committee on Climate Change have said that we need to quadruple renewable energy generation in the UK to reach net zero by 2050, and today’s announcement is a step in that direction.

Secretary of State for Business and Energy Alok Sharma said:

Ending our contribution to climate change means making the UK a world leader in renewable energy.

We are determined to do that in a way that works for everyone, listening to local communities and giving them an effective voice in decisions that affect them.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said:

The government is pressing ahead with action to meet our net zero emissions target quickly and at lowest cost to consumers and businesses. Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy.

Today’s consultation outlines proposals to ensure the Contracts for Difference scheme can support the increased ambition required, including:

  • making the UK a world-leader in new technologies such as floating offshore wind, which would allow wind farms to be built further away from the shore and increase clean energy capacity
  • supporting our renewables supply chain to enhance productivity and increase competitiveness, boosting the UK’s world-class clean energy industry
  • improving the scheme to better support energy storage, so projects can provide power when the wind stops blowing or the sun is not shining

This is part of the Year of Climate Action, a defining year for our country and our planet, in the run up to the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

Clean energy to power over seven million homes by 2025 at record low prices

Twelve new renewable energy projects have won Contracts for Difference – enough to power over seven million homes at record low costs.

  • Around 6GW of clean energy is to be added to the grid by 2025 – an important step towards decarbonising our energy system and reaching net zero emissions by 2050
  • Results show the UK’s leadership in offshore wind, creating up to 8,000 jobs across the UK and economic opportunities as we leave the European Union

Twelve new renewable energy projects will be powering over seven million homes at record low prices thanks to the latest round of the government’s flagship Contracts for Difference scheme.

The new projects will provide around 6GW of capacity – 2.4GW more than the last round. For the first time renewables are expected to come online below market prices and without additional subsidy on bills, meaning a better deal for consumers. The costs of offshore wind are now around 30% lower than the second auction held in 2017, with projects now being delivered for as low as £39.65/MWh.

The new projects and lower prices are another step toward decarbonising our energy system as we work toward net zero emissions by 2050, creating jobs and economic opportunities across the UK. According to research by RenewableUK, the new projects could see 8,000 jobs created.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

The UK is leading the way in the fight against climate change, and it’s great news that millions more homes will be powered by clean energy at record low prices.

Seizing the opportunities of clean energy not only helps to protect our planet, but will also back businesses and boost jobs across the UK.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said:

Offshore wind is a British success story, with new projects at record low prices creating new opportunities for jobs and economic growth as we leave the EU.

The support we’re announcing today will mean that over 7 million more homes will be powered by renewable energy as we decarbonise our energy system – crucial as we continue on the road to net zero emissions by 2050.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the government’s primary method of supporting low-carbon electricity. It encourages investment in renewables by providing projects with a stable income while protecting consumers from paying increased support costs when electricity prices are high.

Renewables projects across the UK have been awarded CfDs – from Birmingham to Orkney. Successful technology types include:

  • Offshore wind – wind projects off the UK coast delivering up to a third of our electricity coming from the technology by 2030;
  • Advanced Conversion Technologies – converting waste which would otherwise go to landfill into energy;
  • Remote Island Wind – wind projects on the remote islands of the UK which can take advantage of strong winds.

Today’s results are the latest stage of the government’s support for renewable energy. In March 2019 we signed a ground-breaking £250 million sector deal with the offshore wind industry which committed us to maximising opportunities and sourcing up to a third of electricity from offshore wind by 2030.

Read the results: Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation round 3

The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 8GW installed at the end of 2018. This is expected to rise to 10GW by next year, and even further as more projects start contributing power to the grid into the 2020s.

In June the government committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and ending the UK’s contribution to global warming altogether. The UK has already made a strong start in decarbonising its energy system, with renewables generating a record 33% of the country’s electricity last year.

It has been estimated that the low carbon economy in the UK could grow four times faster than rest of the economy out to 2030 and could deliver between £60 billion and £170 billion in exports by 2030. Today’s results demonstrate the potential of renewables to create such ‘green-collar’ jobs.

HS2 could provide green energy to hundreds of new homes

In an innovative first, engineers developing the HS2 super-hub at Old Oak Common in north west London are proposing plans to tap heat from the brakes and engines of high speed trains to heat water and power central heating of up to 500 new homes that could be built nearby.

The scheme would see 5 air source heat pumps draw warm air from the railway’s tunnels, where the waste heat from trains is usually extracted by traditional ventilation systems and seeps into the ground surrounding the tunnels.

Instead HS2 Ltd’s plans would see waste heat fed into a local District Heating System. The new HS2 station at Old Oak Common is set to be the UK’s best connected rail interchange, with an estimated 250,000 people passing through every day. It will help kick-start the UK’s largest regeneration project, which aims to transform the former railway and industrial area, into a new neighbourhood supporting up to 65,000 jobs and 25,500 new homes*.

HS2 innovation manager, Pablo García, said:

HS2 is so much more than a railway. By taking a long term view of how the benefits of investing in the new high speed railway can be shared, we’re investigating how to provide sustainable, low-carbon heating and hot water to up to 500 new homes.

Near Old Oak Common we’re building a crossover box. This is an underground hall that houses a points junction to enable trains to arrive and depart from any of the station’s platforms.

Our plans would see warm air pushed into the crossover box by trains, in effect acting like pistons. It then rises to be harnessed by air source heat pumps, converted into hot water and transported to homes by insulated pipes.

Aerial view of Old Oak Common

Old Oak Common’s crossover box is capable of supporting waste heat recovery technology.

Based on current energy price forecasts, HS2 estimates that the investment in waste heat recycling system would pay for itself after just 4 years.

Compared to gas boilers being used in the homes, recycling heat generated by trains’ engines and brakes could reduce the carbon footprint of 500 houses by more than a fifth (22%).

Plans are at an early stage but the technology is proven. As the project progresses HS2 Ltd will work with local partners to make this aspiration a reality.

Pablo explained how Old Oak Common’s crossover box is the only place on HS2’s first section between London and the West Midlands capable of supporting waste heat recovery technology, but there may be further opportunities on the high speed network’s Leeds and Manchester routes.

Our study focused on possible Phase One opportunities because its designs are most advanced. Designs for the second phase of the railway are at an earlier stage, and we hope to look at whether waste heat recovery technology could be deployed there too.

Currently more than 1,000 people are at work on HS2 across London, clearing the way for the start of construction.

At Euston and the future HS2 terminus at Curzon Street in Birmingham demolitions are well underway alongside the project’s pioneering archaeology programme. Meanwhile clearance of the Washwood Heath site, the Birmingham location of the project’s future network control centre and rolling stock depot, is also in full swing.

In total more than 7,000 jobs are currently supported by the HS2 project, both directly and in the UK-wide supply chain.