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Banks Group revealed as firm behind ‘reluctant’ challenge against ‘discriminatory’ CfD process

Image: Peel Energy.

Image: Peel Energy.

Banks Group has been revealed as the company behind a legal challenge against the government’s Contracts for Difference mechanism which stands to delay its forthcoming auction.

Banks Renewables, Banks’ onshore wind development division, has launched judicial review proceedings against the government for what it has described as the existing “discriminating in favour of offshore wind and other renewable energy technologies” within the CfD mechanism.

Since the first auction round in 2015, the government has excluded established, so-called ‘pot two’ technologies from the auction, a move which has effectively turned the CfD process into a pure offshore wind auction.

Bids for government funding under the third CfD auction, which is widely expected to see record low bids for offshore wind projects, opened in May and were due to close this week. That window has now been extended until 29 August, with results now scheduled for publication on 19 - 20 September at the earliest.

But a legal challenge, first reported by BusinessGreen earlier this week, has thrown a spanner into the works.

Yesterday Banks Group came forward as the company behind that legal challenge and in a statement, said that it believed the exclusion of fully-consented onshore wind farms from CfD auctions is against the public interest and prevents consumers from enjoying lower bills.

And, crucially, it said the exclusion fails to comply with either EU or UK law, prompting the challenge.

Richard Dunkley, managing director at Banks Renewables, said the government had “significantly undermined” onshore wind deployment in the UK, but added its decision to launch judicial review proceedings was taken reluctantly.

“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.

“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.

“Allowing all technologies to participate in CfD auctions would allow the onshore and offshore wind industries to flourish, increase the rate at which the UK can decarbonise its power supply and achieve its climate change targets, and directly benefit consumers by reducing both electricity prices and the current ‘green levy’ on consumer bills,” he said.

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