Responding to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pre-election pledge to raise the country’s target for offshore wind capacity to 40 GW by 2030, SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies has called on the government to hold auctions for renewable energy more regularly than it has to date
“The new government has already committed to backing SSE’s call for ramping up renewables with a new target of 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030,” said Mr Phillips-Davies.
“This is a clear signal to an industry to build on successes to date and continue its huge investment programme. SSE will be playing its part building the world’s largest offshore windfarm at Doggerbank off the east coast of Yorkshire and Seagreen, off the coast of Fife, which will be Scotland’s largest offshore windfarm.
“However, delivering enough projects will require policy changes to introduce more regular renewable energy contract auctions and focused collaboration to address obstacles such as planning, electricity grid constraints and aviation restrictions.
“Renewable energy will also need low-carbon flexible backup. Carbon capture and storage fitted to thermal power stations has high potential here and must be demonstrated at scale within the next decade. SSE also sees potential in hydrogen power technology too,” said Mr Phillips-Davies. “Both will need government collaboration and support to take the technologies forward.”
“The one consistent message throughout the UK General Election campaign was the need to tackle climate change with urgency. Looking ahead to the Queens Speech (which takes place today, 19 December 2019) and the 2020 policy agenda, now is the time to translate political pledges into practical action to pave the way for net zero emissions by 2050,” he concluded.
“Ultimately, the window for game-changing action on climate change is closing and we need to move at pace in this Parliament. Five years ago, world leaders signed the landmark Paris Agreement which paved the way for action to address climate change and cut carbon emissions. In advance of the critical UN COP26 climate talks in Glasgow next November, the new government needs a world-leading net zero roadmap to energise the next phase of delivery. Manifestos are a shop window for prospective governments. Now our elected representatives must be ready to get out on the shop floor and make good on their promises.”
As previously highlighted by OWJ, the most recent contract for difference auction in the UK saw prices fall steeply once again. Costs have now fallen so rapidly it is a government-imposed cap limiting the amount of capacity installed and it is questionable whether waiting two years between auctions remains the right policy, and whether doing so would enable the government to reach 40 GW by 2030.