The UK’s latest annual renewable energy auction failed to attract any bids for offshore wind, because developers deemed the offered prices insufficient to cover their rising costs, as reported by Reuters on September 8. In this auction, only 3.7 GW of new projects received approval, with the majority coming from onshore wind and solar power. This marks a significant decline compared to the nearly 11 GW of projects approved in last year’s renewable energy auction, which awarded contracts to 7 GW of offshore wind projects.
The outcome of the auction represents a setback for the UK’s renewable energy sector, particularly given the country’s status as the world’s second-largest offshore wind market, trailing only China. The UK government had imposed a price cap of GBP44 per megawatt hour (MWh) for offshore wind bids, down from GBP46/ MWh in the previous round. Offshore wind developers had previously cautioned that the government’s offered price did not adequately account for the rising costs in the industry, including supply chain and labor expenses. In response to mounting criticism, a government official hinted that a more generous maximum price for offshore wind projects might be offered in next year’s auction. The UK has set an ambitious target to expand offshore wind capacity to 50 GW by 2030, a substantial increase from the approximately 14 GW currently installed.