Commenting on the decision by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to offer a Final Investment Decision contract to the Beatrice offshore wind project in the Moray Firth, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“We have been pressing the Department of Energy and Climate Change on this matter for several months so I am pleased that the Beatrice project is to be awarded a FID contract, which is the very least that the Scottish Government expected, given Scotland’s huge clean energy potential.
“As yet we have not seen any fresh analysis from DECC regarding the amount of capacity and budget which remains after the award of these projects today. This analysis will have implications for remaining offshore and other major projects in Scotland, which can play a major part in energy security, and we will continue to press these cases.”
“We are concerned that many of these schemes may not be able to proceed because of the lack of commitment to a market beyond 2020, and the lack of a decarbonisation target for 2030, which has and will constrain growth in the sector.
“Nonetheless I welcome Ed Davey’s comments acknowledging that Scottish energy projects like Beatrice – which I announced planning consent for last month – play a vital role in keeping the lights on across the UK and meeting the UK’s legally binding renewables targets.
“Scotland has the potential to lead the development of an exciting, new renewables industry as offshore wind moves into deeper waters.
“Offshore renewables represent a huge opportunity for Scotland; an opportunity to build up new industries and to deliver on our ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.”
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) also welcomed the announcement by DECC of private sector investment in eight major new renewable energy projects and hopes that it will be the first of many.
Prof Roger Kemp from the IET said:
“If the policy is to supply 15% of total energy from renewables by 2020, this is a welcome step in that direction.
“At present, renewables supply about 4% of total UK energy use and around another two per cent is already approved or under construction. The contracts announced today will add a further 1%
“Bearing in mind that to complete the final design, build and commissioning of a sizeable project takes three or four years, the renewable capacity that will be in service by 2020 will have to be given the go-ahead within the next two years or so – which means we need an announcement like this every couple of months for the next two years.
“A diverse range of low carbon energy projects needs to be accompanied by energy demand reduction and development of the underpinning electricity network infrastructure in order to create a fully functioning low carbon energy system for the 2020s.”
Energy UK welcomed the announcement too and a spokesman said:
“It is excellent news that these major green energy projects have been given the go ahead by Government today. This will contribute towards our UK climate change and renewables targets, creates jobs and will play a part in energy security. Today’s announcement of new wind and biomass renewable power stations is an invaluable part of the overall energy package. However, we encourage government to complete its Electricity Market Reform package to provide certainty for investment in new electricity generation and to build the back-up needed when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.”