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North green energy projects hail support in latest government auction

Aberdeen-based North Star is among firms hoping to secure supply chain work.
Aberdeen-based North Star is among firms hoping to secure supply chain work.

Nearly 100 green energy projects boasting a total of almost 11 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity have won UK Government backing.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) said the 92 schemes winning support in its fourth Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction was more than in all the previous rounds combined.

Beis hailed the latest auction as its most successful to date, offering 10.8GW of new capacity – enough to power an estimated 8.1 million homes – from a range of technologies, including offshore and onshore wind, and solar.

Energy Minister Greg Hands said it was “a roaring success”, adding: “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.”

Greg Hands MP.

Floating offshore wind and tidal projects have secured government backing through CfD for the first time, with 32 megawatts (MW) and 41MW supported respectively.

Supply-side businesses aiming to cash in from offshore projects include Aberdeen-based support vessel operator North Star.

Matthew Gordon, chief executive, North Star, said: “Today’s CfD announcement is a great endorsement for the future of offshore wind in this country and for the opportunities it presents for businesses like ours and the next generation of seafarers.

“We currently have four state-of-the-art hybrid powered vessels being built to support operations and maintenance work.

“Investment in our new renewables ship fleet has already created 170 job openings.”

North Star chief executive Matthew Gordon.
North Star chief executive Matthew Gordon.

Developers secured support for more than 35MW of new Scottish tidal stream capacity.

Orbital Marine Power (OMP) secured backing for two of its tidal energy projects

OMP’s 7.2MW for delivery in 2026-27 is said to be enough to power up to 7,200 homes.

Andrew Scott, the Edinburgh firm’s chief executive, said the CfD awards were “an important validation” of OMP’s technology and strategic approach. Around 150 jobs are expected to be created through OMP’s manufacture and installation phases alone.

Shares in Simec Atlantis bounce back

Simec Atlantis Energy (SAE), saw its share price more than double at one stage after it secured support worth £178.54 per megawatt-hour over 15 years at its pioneering MeyGen site – already the world’s largest tidal project – in the Pentland Firth.

SEA chief executive Graham Reid said: “The significance of today’s announcement cannot be downplayed.

“We are going to be delivering the world’s first commercial scale tidal array and now have a clear runaway, with future CfD rounds, to deliver the full circa 400MW of tidal power generation at MeyGen.”

One of the MeyGen tidal turbines.<br />Simec Atlantis Energy

It is just over a week since SAE suffered a 50% plunge in the value of its shares after outages at its flagship MeyGen scheme and the collapse of a key development project drove it further into the red.

Developers secured support for nearly 7GW of offshore wind projects, including the Inch Cape wind farm off the Angus Coast, and Moray West in the outer Moray Firth.

Beis hailed the support for offshore wind as “a significant step” towards the UK achieving its target of  50GW by 2030.

Onshore wind and solar

Nearly 1.6GW of Scottish onshore wind and solar projects won CfD support.

Scotland is home to all 888MW of onshore wind capacity support in the UK-wide round, for projects mostly in the central belt, Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

A further 597MW of “remote island wind” projects in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles secured CfD backing under their own category.

Winners include the 200MW Stornoway Wind Farm being developed by EDF Renewables, the 72MW Beaw Field project on Yell in Shetland, the 48MW Mossy Hill scheme near Lerwick and two community-led developments – both 28.8MW – in Orkney.

Meanwhile, the Viking Wind Farm in Shetland won a contract to supply 220MW – 50% of its 443MW capacity – for the 2026-27 delivery year.

All 78MW of solar capacity in Scotland was secured by one developer, Elgin Energy, which will see a trio of its projects gain CfD support.

Scottish Renewables chief executive Claire Mack said: “Make no mistake, today’s auction results are a turning point for tidal power, showing as they do that it has a place in the UK’s energy mix.”

But Ms Mack also warned of the risks of pricing tidal technology at an “unsustainably low” level in future allocations.”

Conversation