PRESS RELEASE: Solar industry hails Government plans to run new clean power auctions

Solar Trade Association
Immediate Release
02 March 2020

Today the STA has welcomed Government plans to hold a new round of clean power auctions, set to take place in 2021, for solar and onshore wind. A new Contracts for Difference auction will enable greater deployment of the cleanest, cheapest forms of power generation today, cutting costs to consumers by £200m-£300m annually. [1] The policy is one of the STA’s key priorities for 2020. [2]

Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: “Today’s announcement marks a major shift in the right direction for Government policy on onshore renewables, and a welcome opportunity for the solar industry.”

“New clean power auctions for Pot 1 technologies will accelerate the decarbonisation of the power sector and drive the shift towards net zero, bringing with it new jobs, cheaper electricity and opportunities closer to home for Britain’s highly experienced solar investors.”

“The Government is backing a winner in solar, which is not only the UK’s most popular energy technology, but also highly cost-effective and one which offers unique opportunities to enhance local biodiversity and agriculture.”

The Committee on Climate Change has regularly recommended new government-led clean power auctions for solar and onshore wind to support the UK’s decarbonisation targets, as well as keeping the cost of energy down for bill-payers. It estimates that the UK’s solar power capacity will have to triple by 2030 in order to be on track for the Government’s legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. [3]

The decision will boost for jobs and growth in the renewable energy sector, and help ensure clean power is available to meet rising demand brought on by the rise of electric vehicles and the electrification of heat. There is currently a pipeline of more than 7GW of solar projects in development. [4]

Further deployment of large-scale solar offers a unique opportunity to enhance local biodiversity across the UK. A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that well-designed and well-managed ground-mount solar installations can support wildlife habitats and meaningfully contribute to achieving national biodiversity targets.

Solar parks have several advantages in this respect compared to other landscapes. Being secure sites, with little disturbance from humans and machinery once construction is complete, they require little if any use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers, and typically incorporate ecological features such as drainage ponds and hedgerows, which can be designed to optimise their habitat value. [5]

ENDS​

 

Editors notes:

 

[1] Aurora RE – Prospects for Subsidy Free Wind and Solar in GB: https://www.auroraer.com/insight/prospects-subsidy-free-wind-solar-gb/

[2] Solar Trade Association – UK Solar in 2020: Priorities for the Government: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/solar2020/

[3] Committee on Climate Change – Net Zero Technical Report: https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Net-Zero-Technical-report-CCC.pdf

[4] Solar Power Portal – UK utility-scale project developers return to market as pipeline grows to 7GW: https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/blogs/uk_utility_scale_project_developers_return_to_market_as_pipeline_grows_to_7

[5] Solar Trade Association –  The Natural Capital Value of Solar: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The-Natural-Capital-Value-of-Solar.pdf

[6] Solar is the UK’s most popular energy generation technology, having consistently topped every official survey since 2012. In the latest wave of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Public Attitudes Tracker, it received 85% support: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/844940/BEIS_Public_Attitudes_Tracker_Wave_31_key_findings.pdf

 

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:

Name: Jack Dobson-Smith

Title: External Affairs Adviser

Main line: 0203 637 2946

 

Background on the Solar Trade Association:

The mission of the Solar Trade Association is to empower the UK solar transformation. We are paving the way for solar to deliver the maximum possible share of UK energy by 2030 by enabling a bigger and better solar industry. We represent both solar heat and power plus energy storage, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for all three technologies.