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UK Government to hold renewable energy auctions

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Energy Global,

The STA has welcomed UK Government plans to hold a new round of clean power auctions, set to take place in 2021, for solar and onshore wind. A new Contracts for Difference auction will enable greater deployment of the cleanest, cheapest forms of power generation, cutting costs to consumers by £200 million – £300 million annually. The policy is one of the STA's key priorities for 2020.

According to the STA, the Committee on Climate Change has regularly recommended new government-led clean power auctions for solar and onshore wind to support the UK's decarbonisation targets, as well as keeping the cost of energy down for bill-payers. It estimates that the UK's solar power capacity will have to triple by 2030 in order to be on track for the Government's legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The decision will boost jobs and growth in the renewable energy sector, and help ensure clean power is available to meet rising demand brought on by the rise of electric vehicles and the electrification of heat, the STA states. There is currently a pipeline of more than 7 GW of solar projects in development.

According to the STA, further deployment of large-scale solar offers a unique opportunity to enhance local biodiversity across the UK. A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that well-designed and well-managed ground-mount solar installations can support wildlife habitats and meaningfully contribute to achieving national biodiversity targets.

The STA states that solar parks have several advantages in this respect compared to other landscapes. Being secure sites, with little disturbance from humans and machinery once construction is complete, they require little if any use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers, and typically incorporate ecological features such as drainage ponds and hedgerows, which can be designed to optimise their habitat value.

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