61GW renewables and storage pipeline could bring in £125bn to economy
The UK currently has a pipeline of 61GW of renewables and storage that if developed could bring in £125 billion to the UK economy.
This is according to trade association Regen, which released new analysis of the UK’s pipeline. It found that this pipeline could provide 200,000 jobs and could add £125 billion to the value of the UK economy across the entire country.
This comes as many companies and organisations seek to highlight the benefits of a green recovery from COVID-19 to both jobs and the economy, with the IEA finding that worldwide millions of jobs could be saved and the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit finding that tens of thousands of UK jobs could be saved.
The pipeline 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.
Regen calculated that 18GW of this pipeline can be deemed “shovel-ready”, using renewable energy planning data to identify the projects ‘awaiting construction’, those that have received planning permission but not begun construction.
It calculated the total pipeline from the registers of ‘accepted to connect’ energy generation assets on the distribution and transmission electricity networks.
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”.