Energy Economy

19 May 2020

UK renewables and storage project pipeline approaches 40GW

19 May 2020  by Cecilia Keating   

Some 38.7GW of renewable projects are currently planned across 845 locations across the UK, according to Cornwall Insight's latest renewables pipeline tracker.

The UK's renewables pipeline is nearing 40GW, according to a new analysis from Cornwall Insight which reveals that the clean energy sector is poised to expand with a sizeable chunk of new capacity with 'under or awaiting construction'.

The influential research firm's latest 'Renewables Pipeline Tracker', published yesterday, confirms that 38.7GW of renewables and energy storage projects are currently planned across 845 locations in the UK.

A growing pipeline of projects reveals a hearty appetite for future renewables developments from investors, with more than half of projects - 22.9GW - classified as 'awaiting construction'.

Moreover, the pipeline has continued to advance in recent months, according to analyst Lucy Dolton. "Since a provisional assessment in winter 2019, changes to the pipeline include circa 800MW of projects moving to 'awaiting construction', around 120MW moving to 'under construction' and approximately 150MW moving to 'operational' status," she said. "The growth in projects gaining planning permission is dominated by battery technologies, with solar and onshore wind also seeing notable rises."

The results suggest plans to accelerate the roll out of smart grid technologies and low cost renewables are bearing fruit. "Standalone battery is a key pipeline technology, accounting for the largest share by technology type in eight out of 14 DNO regions, followed by solar PV," Dolton added. "Offshore wind is expected to dominate transmission connections, but, notably, more large-scale onshore wind and even solar PV assets are likely to seek transmission connections. This is likely due to the economies of scale new sites are looking to achieve, especially those going subsidy-free."

The pipeline also includes two confirmed power purchase agreements (PPAs), both of which are for subsidy-free solar projects, and 10 corporate PPAs associated with onshore wind, rooftop and ground-mounted solar sites. Dalton noted that the presence of confirmed routes to the market was "integral" to the pipeline's development.

Dolton said that 3.2GW of the capacity has confirmed Transmission Entry Capacity (TEC) to connect to the system. A further 66 per cent is forecasted to connect at the transmission level, if developed, with the remaining 33 per cent at the distribution level, she added.

The results will likely to provide a boost to calls for green stimulus measures given a significant number of projects are 'shovel ready' and could quickly create jobs and investment opportunities.

The report comes in the same week as consultancy giant EY published its biannual renewables investor 'attractiveness index' showing the UK has climbed one spot to sixth in the global league table following the government's decision earlier this year to allow onshore wind and solar projects to compete for clean power contracts.

More News