RenewableUK calculates next year’s CfDs can secure 11GW of new on and offshore wind if caps are lifted.

Analysis by RenewableUK suggests that if the UK Government lifts capacity caps from the next round of contracts for difference the clean energy sector can secure over £20bn (€22bn) of investment.

The government is due to run the auctions in 2021 to secure more low-cost renewable power.

RenewableUK calculates that if capacity caps are lifted, the auction can secure 11GW of new onshore and offshore wind, translating into over £20bn of investment, supporting over 12,000 jobs.

The last CfD auction in 2019 secured 5.8GW of renewable energy capacity at prices below the long-term market price of electricity.

Analysis by the trade group shows that since lockdown was imposed on 23 March, UK-based companies working in the wind industry have announced contracts and investments in new projects worth more than £4bn, creating over 2000 UK jobs at a time when economic activity in other sectors has been shrinking.

RenewableUK’s Recommendations for a Green Economic Recovery report, published today, sets out a range of priorities for the government and industry to work on together, to achieve the goals of kickstarting the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic and reaching net zero.

The UK offshore wind industry is already investing £100m in the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, which supports the rapid expansion of companies in the UK supply chain.

RenewableUK is calling for the government to also provide funding for this initiative, similar to other sectors like aerospace.

More small and medium firms can be attracted into the supply chain through new grants and business rates support, said the association.

The report also highlights the opportunity to upgrade UK port facilities to ensure they can handle the larger offshore wind turbines and components now being manufactured.

Investing in upgrading ports will improve the competitiveness of the UK in this global growth industry, said the association.

The report further highlights innovative technologies where the UK can be a world leader, such as floating offshore wind and tidal power.

The CfD auctions provide an opportunity to support these new technologies which will, for example, allow us to build offshore wind farms in deeper waters using floating foundations.

RenewableUK strategic communications director Luke Clark said: “The Prime Minister and the Chancellor want to build back greener; putting low cost renewables at the heart of this agenda is a no regrets option that will get investment flowing into the economy quickly and create jobs.

“If we can support innovation and strategic investment in our offshore wind supply chain, alongside new cutting-edge technologies like renewable hydrogen and floating wind, the UK can be at the forefront of global growth sectors.

“The renewables sector is one of the biggest investors in UK infrastructure; boosting that will increase opportunities and employment, particularly in parts of our economy where we need to level up.”