The UK’s recent offshore wind auction failed to receive any bids, marking a setback for the country’s green transition goals. Rising costs for wind energy and the low auction price were cited as reasons for the lack of interest from industry participants. Experts are now calling on the UK government to review auction rules and work closely with the wind industry to ensure future success.
The UK relies heavily on wind energy, which currently supplies more than a quarter of its electricity. However, the recent failed auction poses challenges to the country’s ambitious plans in the offshore wind sector. This failure has been described by energy experts as the biggest clean energy disaster in years.
The UK government’s dismissal of the failure, saying it was due to global inflation and supply chain challenges, has led many to question its commitment to developing offshore wind capacity and supporting the green transition.
The UK has made significant progress in expanding its renewable energy capacity over the last two decades, with wind power being the second largest source of electricity after gas. The government aims to achieve 50GW of offshore wind capacity and 5GW of offshore floating wind capacity by the end of the decade. However, the maximum price set for the recent auction was considered too low by industry participants, leading to their non-participation.
This setback in the UK offshore wind industry is compounded by Swedish company Vattenfall’s decision to halt its Norfolk Boreas wind energy project due to rising costs and difficult market conditions.
The government is under scrutiny for failing to increase the auction price and make offshore wind energy more competitive. Although the cost of offshore wind energy has fallen in recent years, current cost pressures were not sufficiently taken into account in the auction. Energy experts and climate activists are calling on the government to review auction rules, improve the investment framework and introduce tax measures to attract greater investment in clean energy.
It is vital that the UK Government works closely with the wind industry to develop effective policies and ensure future auctions support the growth of offshore wind capacity.