The Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions could bring in 12,000 new jobs and over £20 billion of investment, according to RenewableUK.
It found that UK-based companies working in the wind industry have announced contracts and investments in new projects worth over £4 billion since lockdown. This has created over 2,000 jobs at a time when economic activity in other sectors is shrinking, RenewableUK said.
It went on to say that if the government took steps to 'maximise' the economic benefits of renewables and lifted capacity caps for the 2021 CfD auction, it could facilitate 11GW of new onshore and offshore wind. This would then translate into £20 billion of investment and 12,000 new jobs.
This comes as a key recommendation issued as part of a new report offering advice to the government on a green COVID-19 recovery.
The government should accelerate electrification, RenewableUK said, focusing in on domestic heating and electric vehicle (EV) uptake. This should be alongside measures to improve investment in grid infrastructure to support increased electrification as well as policies to promote flexibility.
Private investment in grid infrastructure can be brought forward rapidly provided the regulatory framework allows for more strategic, anticipatory investment that will reduce the overall cost of new grid infrastructure in the long term, it said, pointing to RIIO-T2 and ED2 as a way to implement this.
Other recommendations include outlining a cross-departmental programme to deliver the government’s 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 target and adopting a new strategic approach to supporting the UK supply chain of renewable energy.
A route to market should be created to unlock investment in technologies such as floating wind, wave and tidal stream, RenewableUK said, adding that the development of each technology will require targeted measures from the government.
Lastly, it recommended that the government establish a strategy for the development of renewable hydrogen.
RenewableUK’s director of strategic communications, Luke Clark, said that putting renewables at the heart of the Prime Minister’s ambitions to build back greener is “a no regrets option”.
“Government has the tools it needs to put a rocket under renewable energy projects, which will make it much easier to achieve wider net zero objectives like the switch to EVs and low carbon heating."