Banks Renewables, a subsidiary of energy infrastructure business Banks Group, has confirmed it is the firm behind the legal challenge that threatens to stall an auction for a fresh round of government clean energy contracts .

Banks Renewables revealed today it is the company that has lodged an application for a Judicial Review against the government’s flagship Contracts for Difference scheme (CfD), under which renewables developments such as offshore wind, wave and tidal power, and certain biomass energy projects can compete for price support contracts.

The firm is claiming the scheme’s exclusion of onshore wind and other renewables such as solar is unfair and does not comply with UK or EU law.

While onshore wind and solar have previously been allowed to compete in CfD auctions as ‘Pot 1’ technologies indicating their status as ‘mature’ renewables, the current auction is only open to so-called ‘Pot 2’ technologies which cover ‘less mature’ renewables such as offshore wind and tidal stream. The previous 2017 auction was also only open to Pot 2 technologies.

The challenge builds on long-standing accusations from across the onshore renewables industry that the most cost effective forms of clean energy were being ‘locked out’ of the auctions, ultimately leading to higher costs for billpayers.

Banks Renewables said it believes the current 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 inclusion and, from a legal perspective, does not comply with either EU or UK law”.

The company boasts three operational onshore wind farms backed by CfDs won in the first auction in 2015. But the failure to stage subsequent auctions for mature renewable technologies means the firm also has two consented but unbuilt onshore projects in Scotland with a combined capacity of 150MW, “which were not permitted to compete in the recent Round 3 CfD auctions”.

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