Fourth Contracts for Difference round secures enough to power around 12 million homes


‘A record amount’ of renewable energy has been secured through the biggest ever round of the UK government’s flagship auction scheme, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

Described as the ‘most successful ever’, the fourth round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme has secured almost 11GW across a range of clean technologies, including offshore wind, solar, onshore wind, and – for the first time ever – floating offshore wind and tidal stream.

The greatest capacity – almost 7GW – has been secured from new offshore wind projects around the coastline of Great Britain, enough to increase the country’s overall capacity built and under construction by 35% and take ‘a significant step’ towards meeting the government’s 50GW of offshore wind ambition by 2030.

Energy Minister Greg Hands commented on the announcement: “This fourth round shows the government’s Contracts for Difference scheme continues to be a roaring success.

“Not only has it secured a record capacity of clean electricity, it ensures the UK will have a future powered by a resilient and diverse supply of homegrown energy by bringing forward a greater range of renewable technologies than ever before.”

Onshore wind and solar energy were both included in a CfD auction for the first time since 2015. Onshore wind secured almost 0.9GW of new capacity, clearing at a per unit price that was more than 45% lower than in the first CfD round in 2015, while solar secured more than 2.2GW.

The fourth round also saw developing technologies tidal stream and floating offshore wind projects successful for the first time. Tidal stream returned a capacity of 41MW and floating offshore wind returned 32MW.

Overall, 93 projects with existing planning permission across England, Scotland and Wales have won contracts through the competitive auction process, which is more than in all three previous rounds combined.

The CfD fourth round had budget funding of £295 million per year (2011-2012 prices)

This saw £210 million allocated to the pot supporting offshore wind projects, with £10 million for established technologies and £75 million for less-established technologies, including ringfenced funding of £24 million for floating offshore wind projects and £20 million for tidal stream projects.

More information about this announcement is available on the UK Government website.