One of Britain’s Big Six utility companies has called for both new and replacement onshore wind-turbine sites for projects that are reaching the ‘stop-generating-by’ date.
Perth-based SSE also wants the Scot-Govt to facilitate the installation of even larger blades on turbines – an issue which is often hotly-contest at first planning application stage.
Paul Cooley, the company’s Director of Generation Development, said; “It would be in the best interest of customers, and for Scottish economic ambitions, for onshore wind development, including re-powering, to be supported in order to meet de-carbonisation targets and deliver economic benefits on a local, regional and national level.
“As the birthplace of wind-powered electricity generation – and the windiest country in Europe – Scotland has been a world leader in harnessing this natural power.
“Onshore wind is set to be the cheapest form of electricity generation and it can be deployed quickly. It also benefits the UK economy with a recent study by BiGGAR Economics showing that two thirds of the lifetime financial spend of a typical GB onshore wind farm remains within the UK.
“The Scottish Government’s draft <Scottish> Energy Strategy contains an ambitious target of generating the equivalent of 50% of the country’s total electricity, heat and transport demand from renewables by 2030. There is rightly broad support for this ambition.
“Doing that, the Scottish Government’s figures show, would require significant new deployment of renewable electricity generation – capacity which could be met not only by new onshore wind sites but also by the repowering of existing ones with more powerful turbines.”
Scotland currently has 6.1GW of onshore wind in operation with (at least) a further 1GW expected to come online before 2020.
But Cooley warned: “As we move into the 2020s the operational project life of a lot of these existing sites will begin to near the end of their cycle. This trend will continue into the late 2020s and into the 2030s.
“Onshore wind makes up 70% of Scotland’s installed renewable capacity and contributes over half of the UK’s total onshore wind capacity (9.9GW). If this capacity is not replaced through re-powering, it will be lost from this total.
“The Scottish Government must play its part by ensuring that the planning regime takes into account its ambitious renewables targets and enables onshore wind, particularly re-powered sites, to be developed.”