Eight major UK renewable energy projects receive government backing.

Guardian: “….Five of the schemes are offshore windfarms, which the Conservative party plans to back in its general election manifesto over cheaper but more controversial onshore wind power.”
“The projects will create 8,500 jobs and add 4.5GW of electricity capacity to the national grid, around 4% of the UK’s generating capacity, or enough to power more than 3 million homes. The projects were worth up to £12bn in private sector investment, the government said.
The combined projects are expected to add 2% to an average household electricity bill by 2020, or £11 per household, but energy and climate secretary, Ed Davey, said the government’s “whole package” on energy reforms would ultimately lower consumer energy bills.
…The agreements are part of a transition to a new subsidy regime, with the old one being phased out in 2017. The deals agreed today are known as investment contracts and are an early form of the new “contracts for difference”, which offer low-carbon generators a guaranteed price for their electricity.
….Three biomass projects have also been given the green light, including a conversion of one part of Britain’s biggest coal power plant, Drax in North Yorkshire, plus Lynemouth Power Station in Northumberland and MGT’s Teesside plan at Middlesborough.
….Oliver Munnion, a campaigner at the group Biofuelwatch, said: “Drax’s conversion actually allows it to burn more coal long into the future. Even after the conversion they’ll be burning some 3.7 million tonnes of coal every year from opencast mines in the UK and imported from places like Colombia, where communities have been forced off their land for expanding mines. Biomass isn’t about renewable energy, it’s about keeping old, polluting power stations running, when they should be closing down.”
Ed Davey in the Guardian: “The amount of energy infrastructure investment needed is breath-taking. UK energy projects in the Treasury national infrastructure plan total £218bn –that’s more than transport, communications and water put together, at over 58% of the total.
….Britain’s renewable energy investment boom is a story rarely told. In 2012 and 2013 Britain saw record levels of investment. New build asset finance for renewable rose 59% between 2012 and 2013 to £7.3 billion, according to Bloomberg, placing the UK third in the world only behind China and the US.
Admittedly, this came from a slow start: in 2010, when we were at the bottom of the European league for renewables, ahead of only Malta and Luxembourg.
Yet now EY marks the UK as the 5th most attractive place in the world for renewables –the second for biomass and the first for offshore wind.
Manufacturers are responding, and the UK is now benefitting from extra foreign direct investment into our renewables supply chain – most notably this March, with the £310 million investment by Siemens and ABP in Hull, for two new factories to make turbine blades and assemble offshore wind turbines. Renewable electricity generation has more than doubled in just over three years, with both wind and solar playing significant parts.”