Government to consider tweaks for renewable subsidies

The government has promised to tweak the rules for subsidising renewable projects following next year’s round of its auction programme for supporting low carbon power.

In its response to the Committee on Climate Change’s 2018 progress report, published yesterday (15 October), the government confirms its announcement last August that the next contracts for difference (CfD) renewables auctions round will run next May and then every two years thereafter.

In response to the committee’s specific recommendation that the CfD process should offer a route to market for onshore and solar generation, currently the cheapest forms of renewable generation, the government says it is considering “further refinements” for future rounds of the auction programme.

It says these tweaks would be designed to further stimulate the deployment of renewables whilst “driving costs for consumers down”.

The consultation on mooted policy changes will be published to inform 2021’s scheduled CfD allocation round four. The parameters of May 2019’s round three will be set out later this year, says the government’s response.

Fabrice Leveque, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, urged the government to use the consultation exercise as an opportunity to restore a route to market for onshore wind and solar, which has been lacking since the closure of the CfD pot one for established renewables technologies.

He said: “This consultation, which is detailed in this response, should be the vehicle with which the government considers the future for the cheapest forms of new electricity generation – onshore wind and solar – which remain locked out of the energy market.

“It is essential that we do not let the opportunities provided by renewable energy – including onshore wind and solar – slip through our fingers, and we look forward to working with government as its plans for the fourth CfD auction progress.”

The government paper also says it will respond to the report of its carbon capture use and storage taskforce by the end of this year when it will also set out the steps needed to deploy the technology at scale during the 2030s.