Legal challenge delays UK auction

27 August 2019

Sian Crampsie

The UK’s latest renewable energy auction has been delayed by a legal challenge brought by a renewable energy developer.

Banks Renewables is believed to have requested a judicial review into the UK’s third allocation round for its contracts for difference (CFD) price support regime.

The developer, which is part of property and energy business The Banks Group, says that the current auction format discriminates against onshore wind energy and other renewable energy technologies.

In a statement it said: “The company believes the exclusion of fully-consented onshore wind farms from the CfD process is against the public interest, prevents consumers from benefiting from the lower energy prices that would result from their inclusion and, from a legal perspective, does not comply with either EU or UK law.”

The on-going round 3 auction is closed to onshore wind energy projects unless they are located in the Scottish islands. Banks has two consented onshore projects in Scotland with a combined capacity of 150 MW, “which were not permitted to compete in the recent Round 3 CfD auctions”.

“We simply desire a level playing field, and believe consented onshore wind farms are legally entitled to participate in all CfD auction processes and to have an opportunity to access the aid necessary to construct consented sites,” said Richard Dunkley, managing director at Banks Renewables. “The exclusion of the onshore sector is clearly contrary to the open, transparent and non-discriminatory way in which the CfD scheme was expected to work.”

The UK government said it would contest Banks’ claim and that the CFD auction process is run “lawfully”. The round 3 auction is expected to award 6 GW of capacity – much of it to offshore wind farm projects.

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