The combined German-Japanese-Irish consortium behind one of the four failed planning applications for large-scale offshore wind farms off the eastern Scottish seaboard has today urged the Scottish Government to ‘get it fixed as soon as possible’.
Last week, the Court of Session upheld a judicial review appeal by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds that the proposal by Mainstream Power – an Ireland-based developer – was invalid because it failed to sufficiently consider the impact its Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm would have on marine birdlife.
As a result, Mainstream Renewable Power’s Neart, SDIC Power’s 784-MW Inch Cape and SSE and Fluor’s 1050-MW Seagreen wind farms – which would collectively invest some £8 billion into these developments – no longer have valid planning permission after Lord Stewart upheld the RSPB claim that the consents granted in October 2014 by the Scottish Government were defective.
Whilst SSE said last week that it was ‘considering’ the verdict, Mainstream Power – allied with its financial backers and proposed turbine suppliers – have today published an open letter to the Scottish Government calling for urgent action.
In a blunt warning, Andy Kinsella, executive director and group chief operating officer, Mainstream Renewable Power, and Wolfgang Bischoff, head of EMEA project & structured finance at Siemens, have told Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse:
“The global energy industry is watching how Scotland’s government acts over the coming days.
“It is now for Scottish ministers urgently to set out how they will address the result of the judicial review positively to ensure the opportunity is grasped, and to work with us and our partners to ensure that this nationally significant project is properly consented and brought into operation in the very near term.
“Doing so will reassure investors that Scotland is still a destination for inward investment.”
Kinsella added: “Neart Na Gaoithe is a £2bn capital infrastructure project that is of national significance. It will play a key role in delivering the Scottish Government’s target of 100% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and the wider climate and energy objectives of the UK government.
“It will create hundreds of jobs during its construction and operation and it will generate significant local economic impact across the country, in particular on the east coast from Dundee to Eyemouth. NnG will also provide the lowest-cost energy from any offshore wind farm yet granted consent – sufficient to power a city the size of Edinburgh.
We are global companies with energy businesses on every continent. We see Scotland as having the potential to be a leading international market for offshore wind. We have invested in Scotland as we believe it should be an ideal location to deliver large-scale offshore renewables given its skilled employees, expertise in the power industry, and its natural high wind speeds.
“It is for these reasons that the judicial review decision is so disappointing to our companies -Mainstream, Marubeni Europower, Siemens and InterGen”.
A Scot-Govt. spokesman said Ministers are considering the Court of Session verdict.