Scotland’s onshore wind farm industry, which has poured hundreds of millions of pounds into the civil engineering and plant sectors, could grind to a halt unless the UK government makes a commitment to its future.
That’s the warning from Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) which says it wants to compete on “a level playing field” with offshore wind developments to help reduce the financial risks. It comes as wind farm construction in Scotland reaches a new peak with more than 1,000 people building eight projects for SPR alone in the Central Belt and the south west.
“There’s a new mechanism in place for offshore wind, called contracts for difference. For gas investment the government have created a capacity mechanism. We’re asking for a contract to help underpin some of the risk of making these big, long-term investments. We’re not asking for a subsidy,” said Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power Renewables.
Under the Renewables Obligation scheme which is to end for all onshore wind projects in April next year, electricity suppliers get a subsidy for agreeing to source from renewable sources a higher proportion of the electricity they supply.
Scottish Power Renewables said it wanted agreements, known as Contracts for Difference, to be issued so firms have some security for future investments.
Meannwhile work continues to progress “at pace” on SPR schemes with 221 turbines being erected under an investment of more than £650m.
Over a nine-month period alone, ScottishPower Renewables awarded nine turbine contracts with a combined value of over £350m. The projects will see 145km of new roads constructed on the sites, the largest site of which is at Kilgallioch straddling the border of South Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway. At 96 turbines and 239MW, it will be the UK’s third largest onshore site.
Kenny Peberdy, onshore director for the renewables business, said: “Scotland is one of the busiest places in the world right now for the construction of onshore wind, with thousands of engineers and technicians and support workers delivering a raft of large-scale renewable energy projects. We are currently building more projects at the same time than we’ve ever built before, through an unprecedented level of investment this year.”
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Article posted 2/11/2016