Renewables projects labelled as “scoping” currently represents 50% or 48.9 GW of the total viable pipeline capacity, according to the latest analysis from Cornwall Insight. This 48.9 GW total includes 38.6 GW offshore wind, 5.0 GW in battery projects, 3.0 GW of onshore wind and 1.5 GW of solar PV.
This includes some of the successful projects in the latest Crown Estate leasing round, representing sites at a much earlier stage in their development than those currently in the pipeline.
Lucy Dolton, Analyst at Cornwall Insight, commented: "While there is no guarantee that all of these projects will ultimately come to fruition, tracking [them] will only become more prudent as we look beyond Allocation Round Four (AR4) of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme.
"The early-stage projects that either were successful in the latest Crown Estate leasing round or those that will be successful in the upcoming Scotwind leasing round later this year are in their infancy and therefore will not be eligible for AR4. However, Cornwall Insight's analysis indicates an established group of up to 10 GW of offshore wind is likely to compete. In addition, outside of offshore wind, ie Pot 1 (established) and Pot 2 (less established, eg floating offshore wind, tidal, geothermal) technologies, the pipeline of CfD-eligible projects continues to grow.
"With a growing pipeline that is technology and capacity diverse, there are differences in how long it takes for projects to move through their respective planning processes. Nevertheless, the amount of time to progress pipeline projects’ overall through the planning process has reduced across most technology types, including solar PV, battery, onshore wind, and offshore wind. However, this rate of reduction, particularly between submitting a planning application and it being approved, has slowed in recent years, with 79% of pipeline projects across these four technologies being in pre-construction development stages.
"This is important because while there is a growing pipeline, the bottleneck of projects at pre-construction planning stages could challenge the wider scale rate of deployment of renewables.
"Key upcoming developments regarding the renewables pipeline in GB will be the outcome of the ScotWind leasing round, and more details regarding AR4 such as the Draft Budget Notice, indicative timeline and the December opening date. What is already clear is that the GB renewables pipeline remains dynamic as we look ahead to the next CfD auction and beyond, with a growing number of early-stage projects in the pipeline."