Subsidy-free renewables in UK ‘set for breakthrough’

Great Britain is on the “cusp” of a subsidy-free renewable energy breakthrough, according to analysis by Aurora Energy Research.

Some 18GW of subsidy-free capacity could be up and running in Great Britain by 2030 the report predicted. Across North-West Europe, the total could rise to more than 60GW over the same period.

A total of €180 billion (£157bn) could be invested in North-West Europe, including €64bn in subsidy-free projects.

Germany and the Netherlands leading

The research highlighted to subsidy-free offshore wind farm projects bidding for licences in Germany and the Netherlands.

Mateusz Wronski, Head of Product Development at Aurora, said: “Back in 2010 at the start of the Electricity Market Reform process in GB, few would have imagined that by 2018 we would be talking about a subsidy-free future for renewables.

“Yet, this is where we have arrived, and our research highlights clearly the enormous prize and potential in the market, not only in Great Britain but across Europe.

“This will be a true game changer for the energy industry and policy makers, with a knock-on effect on baseload technologies as well as flexible generation.”

Grid parity in Great Britain

The research also highlighted subsidy-free solar projects from Anesco in Great Britain and plans for subsidy-free wind by RES.

Aurora predicts that further cost reductions and an expected increase in commodity prices will lead to “grid parity” in Great Britain for solar and onshore wind in the early 2020s and for offshore wind possibly in the late 2020s or in the 2030s.

It said factors that could further de-risk the advance of renewables include the use of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) between large energy users and generators.

Meanwhile UK energy minister Claire Perry has hinted that that onshore wind and solar will be able to compete in future subsidy support auctions for renewables.

In an interview with parliamentary magazine The House, she said the UK government "will have another auction that brings forward [onshore] wind and solar, we just haven’t yet said when".

> Download the research (requires registration)