Energy roundup

Two gas-fired power plants have been approved for construction. They are being developed by Progress Power in Eye, Suffolk, and by Hirwaun Power, near Aberdare in South Wales. Both will supply electricity when there is a surge in demand, or where there is a sudden drop in power being generated from other power plants. Construction is due to start in 2017 for completion in 2019.

RenewableUK has published a new document which makes a case to Government to continue its support for offshore wind.Our Offshore Energy Future – Actions for Growth” report highlights a series of key achievements. The industry has reduced costs by 11% in the last 5 years and is on target to drive costs down to £100 per megawatt hour by 2020. Offshore wind is set to be cost-competitive with new nuclear by the mid-2020s. The industry has committed to ensuring that at least 50% of the content of offshore wind farms is made in the UK. 13,000 people depend on the sector for their livelihoods. At least 4.7 gigawatts (GW) will be added over the next 5 years, representing investment of £16-20 billion. However, the document also warns that the UK’s offshore wind industry will be unable to reach its full potential without supportive Government policies.

Subsidies for new wind farms including offshore wind farms, and solar power plants are set to be cut as official figures reveal that schemes will need £1.5bn more in subsidies than anticipated, the Daily Telegraph reports. The decision is expected to be announced this week.

Government is looking to cut renewable energy subsidies to reduce the price of the bills the public pays for its power. This includes removing the guaranteed level of subsidy for biomass conversions and co-firing projects for the duration of the Renewable Obligation and launching a consultation on controlling subsidies for solar PV of 5MW and below under the Renewables Obligation. “Long-term policy certainty is a key enabler in our transition to a low carbon economy and meeting our legal obligations under the Climate Change Act. This moving of the goalposts could well hamper investment in renewables, and has the potential to inadvertently increase the cost of clean energy,” said Engineering Industries Commission deputy public affairs director Sam Ibbott.