The UK has a “huge” 61GW pipeline of green electricity projects with 18GW deemed 'shovel-ready' according to new analysis from Regen.
The trade association’s analysis has found that the 61GW pipeline could provide 200,000 jobs. This breaks down into offshore wind scooping up just over half that figure at 31.7GW, with onshore wind (11.9GW), solar PV (8.6GW) and storage (8.5GW) splitting the remaining half.
Alongside the benefit to jobs, developing these projects could add £125 billion to the value of the UK economy across the entire country, Regen said.
Regen calculated the total pipeline from the registers of 'accepted to connect' energy generation assets on the distribution and transmission electricity networks and calculated the 'shovel-ready' pipeline using renewable energy planning data, with the projects defined as sites 'awaiting construction', having received planning permission but not begun construction.
To help “unlock” these projects, Regen is calling on the government to implement three key policies that it said would remove barriers. The first of these is to publish the forthcoming energy white paper, which was originally set to be published in summer 2019 but has seen numerous delays.
Secondly, Regen is calling on the government to commit to annual Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions. It was announced in March that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was to consult on opening up the CfD to solar and onshore wind again. Making the auctions yearly would give investors confidence, Regen said.
Its final recommendation is to end what it described as anti-onshore wind policies in the English planning system.
Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen said that the “dramatic falls” in the cost of renewables and storage means the projects in the UK’s pipeline could be delivered by private sector investment, which would enable public investment to be focused on “other green energy policies, such as the Chancellor’s home insulation grant scheme announced yesterday”.
For solar specifically, Solar Media's head of market research Finlay Colville recently revealed how the pipeline of new large-scale solar sites in the UK is now greater than 9GW, with more than 600MW added during June 2020 alone.