Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing yesterday announced new support levels for renewables that will reduce rates for onshore wind and biomass but give a boost to offshore wind.
Under the proposals, the Scottish Government wants to introduce a new band for “innovative” offshore wind projects in deep water.
According to Ewing, Scotland has huge offshore wind potential, but much of it is in water depths greater than elsewhere in the UK, which are most challenging and costly to exploit.
“That’s why I have announced our intention to consult upon and introduce a new band for innovative ways to deploy offshore wind in Scotland’s deeper and more challenging waters,” he told the Scottish Parliament.
Onshore wind developments would also see a 10% reduction in their support levels, which will stay in force until 2017 unless there is s substantial change in costs.
The new regime would also halt support for wood-fuelled biomass power stations with capacities greater than 10 MW from April next year that do not capture and reuse the heat they produce.
The move comes in response to concerns voiced previously by the Scottish Government over competition for wood supply and its long term sustainability.
Meanwhile, support for hydro generation will remain at one Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) per MWh, higher than the 0.7 proposed for the rest of the UK.
Ewing justified the proposals saying that while the Scottish Government wanted to keep its regional Renewables Obligation as consistent as possible with the rest of the UK, there are some areas where a “different course of action is necessary” in Scotland’s best interests.
“Over the last decade the Renewables Obligation has helped to almost triple renewable output in Scotland, and attract around £2.8 billion of investment since 2009,” he said. “Scotland has astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources, and we have a responsibility to make sure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy.”
For other renewable technologies, like solar photovoltaics, Ewing says Scotland will remain consistent with the rest of the UK and will be consulting on them shortly.
For further information:
UK government cuts subsidies for large solar projects (10-Sept)
UK biomass generators face new sustainability criteria (10-Sept)
Scottish Energy Minister questions electricity market reform (21-Jun)
Boost for Scottish renewables sector (12-Jun)
14 September 2012