Brit-Govt energy minister signals special CfD deal for MeyGen tidal turbine marine power project off Caithness

The Atlantis Resources cable-ship worked 24/7 laying the cables to its MeyGen tidal turbine array in the Pentland Firth
The Atlantis Resources cable-ship worked 24/7 laying the cables to its MeyGen tidal turbine array in the Pentland Firth

The traditional maxim says that a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse.

And it appears that the Brit-Govt energy minister has given a clear nod that it will come up with a new Contract for Difference for Atlantis Resource’s tidal power energy project in the Pentland Firth.

Atlantis’ MeyGen project was specifically excluded from the latest CfD reverse auction/ subsidy bid by the Brit-Govt – which has raised fears that MeyGen will abandon the Caithness renewables project (and its Edinburgh head office) and flit to France or Canada.

When asked by a Scottish MP: “Support from the Government will be required to get marine renewables such as wave and tidal power to the point of commercialisation. Renewables UK has come up with a proposal for innovation power purchase agreements. What is the Government’s view of that?”

Richard Harrington, MP
Richard Harrington, MP

In reply, Richard Harrington, Brit-Govt energy minister replied: “As the right hon. Ggentleman will know, we are studying that proposition carefully.”

Here’s Harrington’s full nod ‘n wink exchange across the Westminster parliament benches:

Brendan O’Hara (Argyll and Bute) (SNP) & Hannah Bardell (Livingston) (SNP)

What steps he is taking to support the development of renewable energy sources in Scotland. 

Westminster Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Richard Harrington)

Over a third of projects supported by contracts for difference are located in Scotland. In October, we announced plans to allow wind projects on the remote islands of Scotland to compete for support in the next auction. We have submitted a notification of our plans to the European Commission.

Brendan O’Hara:

My constituency has much going for it, including an abundance of wind and water, making it an ideal place for all kinds of renewable energy projects. What will the Government do to provide revenue support to renewable energy companies during the innovation period while they work to bring down costs?

Richard Harrington

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman has read the industrial strategy avidly; if he has not, I warmly recommend that he does so, as it covers these matters extensively.

Hannah Bardell

In the EU, we have benefited from funding from the European Investment Bank, which has contributed to the development of renewable energy generation in Scotland, including through a £525 million loan for the Beatrice wind farm project off the Caithness coast. Can the Minister reassure the House that the UK will continue to participate in and have access to the capital provided by the European Investment Bank after Brexit?

Richard Harrington

Like the hon. Lady, I commend what the European Investment Bank has done, but the Government are totally committed to renewables and to our own investment in getting a carbon free environment in the way that has been very successful over the last few years.

Stephen Kerr (Stirlin’)** (Con)

Can the Minister confirm that up to £557 million will be made available for less established renewable electricity projects as part of the clean growth strategy, and that projects in Scotland will be able to compete for their share of that fund?

Richard Harrington

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and that is very much an important part of the industrial strategy.

James Heappey (Wells) (Con)

Does my hon. Friend agree that the key is policy certainty, to enable our growing green finance industries to come forward to finance these initiatives themselves, so that the initiatives do not need to rely on Government subsidy?

Richard Harrington

I agree totally with my hon. Friend. I am very impressed by the way in which the finance industry generally is adapting to the clean projects ahead of us.

Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland)

Support from the Government will be required to get marine renewables such as wave and tidal power to the point of commercialisation. Renewables UK has come up with a proposal for innovation power purchase agreements. What is the Government’s view of that?

Richard Harrington

As the right hon. Gentleman will know, we are studying that proposition carefully.

** Unlike the Scottish parliament, Scottish Energy News operates an inclusive linguistic policy and recognises all three of Scotland’s languages – English, Scots and Gaelic.

‘Cooncil’ is the Scots language word for ‘council’ and is not pejorative: Ditto for Stirlin’. 

 Dictionar o’ the Scots Leid  / Dictionary of the Scots Language – http://goo.gl/7xo5Bk 

14 Dec 2017

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