There’s still plenty of Scottish wind power to come, Govt. tells Energy MPs

commons-energy-cttee-reportThe Scottish Affairs Committee has published the British Government’s response to its inquiry into the renewable energy in Scotland, in which the UK energy department says that there is a significant pipeline of new wind power coming forward in Scotland.

He said: “Looking forward, we expect significant further deployment in Scotland over the coming years. The majority of onshore wind projects that qualified for the Renewables Obligation early closure grace period are expected be in Scotland, as are 10 of the 15 onshore wind projects that were successfully allocated a CFD.

“The 588MW Beatrice offshore wind project in the Outer Moray Firth will begin offshore construction in 2017 and the 92.4MW European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off Aberdeenshire is expected to be operational in 2018.

“There is also a significant pipeline of projects – including 1,116MW of offshore wind

– which have planning consent and can deploy subject to their success in any future CFD auction.

“In addition, the latest Scotland Act now provides for a formal consultative role for the Scottish Government in designing renewable incentive schemes that will apply in Scotland.

“In implementing this we will continue to ensure that the Scottish Government is consulted on the design of new incentives to support renewable electricity generation that will apply in Scotland; or the redesign of existing schemes (i.e. the Feed-in Tariffs, the Renewables Obligation and the Contracts for Difference scheme) as they relate to Scotland.”

Pete Wishart, MP
Pete Wishart, MP

However, Committee Chairman, SNP MP Pete Wishart, said he was disappointed that the Government has not recognised the uncertainty felt in the renewable sector, or provided meaningful support and reassurance in their response.

In its report, published earlier this year, the committee noted that the removal of subsidies had affected confidence in the long-term viability of plants and technological development.

The removal of subsidies for onshore wind in particular, one of cheapest renewable sources, without consultation with the industry or Scottish Government was particularly troubling.

Wishart commented: “The Government’s response to our report shows a worrying complacency. They are right to recognise the strong performance of Scotland’s renewable sector, but they have not responded to the voices of those in the industry who have told us that they are facing an uncertain future.

“We are told that everything is fine, but where are the reassurances to the renewable sector that the support will be there to encourage the development of new plants and new technologies? Where is the investment in infrastructure?

“They have provided us with a tacit admission that they think onshore wind has reached its limit –  let’s hope that is not their view of the industry as a whole.

“Scotland has been way ahead of the rest of the United Kingdom when it comes to renewable energy. The Government should be celebrating this and doing everything it can to ensure this success continues into the future, not cutting support and reducing confidence.

“We urge them to do more to work with representatives of the industry and the Scottish Government as they develop future plans.”

See also:

Growth in Scottish renewables is hampered by investor uncertainty over UK Govt. policy U-turns – MPs report

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