RECORD-LOW prices for the next wave of offshore wind farms indicate they will not need to be subsidised by consumers for the first time.

Some 12 renewable energy projects, including offshore and remote island wind schemes, secured contracts from the UK Government yesterday to provide enough power for more than seven million homes, with half the projects in Scotland.

Prices for new offshore wind farms in the latest auction for the contracts –- which guarantee a set price for power from renewable schemes –have fallen by 30 per cent since 2017, to as low as £39.65 per megawatt hour.

It means that, for the first time, renewables are expected to come online below market prices and without an additional subsidy on bills, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK is leading the way in the fight against climate change, and it’s great news that millions more homes will be powered by clean energy at record low prices.

“Seizing the opportunities of clean energy not only helps to protect our planet, but will also back businesses and boost jobs across the UK.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said he was “proud to see Scotland firmly at the heart of the UK’s green revolution”. 

He said: “With half of the 12 successful projects in the latest round of the UK Government’s flagship renewables support scheme being Scottish, we are leading the way in developing renewable energies and harnessing the economic growth benefits and creation of highly skilled jobs this brings.

 “This is the latest in a long line of examples of how the UK Government is building a more prosperous Scotland within a strong United Kingdom.”

The latest projects to secure contracts include four Scottish island wind farm schemes and six offshore wind projects in the waters off Scotland and England that are set to be delivered between 2023 and 2025 for between £39.65 and £41.61 per megawatt hour.

The price of offshore wind has fallen two-thirds since the first auctions for the contracts were held in 2015. In total, the new projects will deliver six gigawatts of power, enough to supply millions of homes, with offshore wind delivering the lion’s share, with 5.5 gigawatts.

The UK Government said it was another step toward decarbonising the energy system ahead of a target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Industry body RenewableUK said the offshore schemes would support 7,000 jobs and bring up to £12.8 billion of investment. Chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “Securing this record amount of new renewable energy capacity in this auction is the biggest single step that the UK has taken towards meeting our net zero emissions target. As these results show, offshore wind is the key technology for this country in tackling the climate emergency.

“Offshore wind will be the backbone of the UK’s clean, modern energy system and will supply at least one-third of our power by 2030.”

He said coastal communities in places such as Aberdeen, Grimsby and Teesside, which are hubs for the burgeoning industry, would benefit from the latest boost to offshore wind.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of industry body Energy UK, said: “Today’s exceptionally low results are tremendously exciting, on a day of global climate action, and shows just what can be done right now.

“The cost of clean energy is continuing to fall, and the move to a low carbon future is being delivered at the lowest cost to consumers.

“This shows what can be achieved by providing the necessary certainty for investment, which drives down the cost of decarbonisation, benefits customers and the wider economy, and creates highly skilled jobs and stimulates growth in rural economies.”

The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world.