Scotland continues to lead the way on renewable energy

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   By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has welcomed new support from the Scottish Government for innovative offshore wind generation in Scotland.

Next generation, cutting-edge offshore wind turbine projects will receive 2.5 tradable Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), whilst those test projects that aim to develop floating turbines, which are not attached to a foundation, will receive 3.5 ROCs.

   By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has welcomed new support from the Scottish Government for innovative offshore wind generation in Scotland.

Next generation, cutting-edge offshore wind turbine projects will receive 2.5 tradable Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), whilst those test projects that aim to develop floating turbines, which are not attached to a foundation, will receive 3.5 ROCs.

Renewables Obligation Certificates are green certificates issued by energy watchdog Ofgem to operators of renewable generating stations for the renewable electricity they generate.  Renewable obligation ensures suppliers source an increasing proportion of the electricity they supply to customers from renewable sources.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said that the move will help decrease the cost of developing offshore wind in Scottish deeper waters.

Announcing the launch of the new scheme, Mr Ewing said:

“Renewables have a significant role to play in Scotland’s future electricity mix. These technologies are needed to help decarbonise our electricity system, increase energy security, and reduce dependence on expensive and depleting fossil fuels.

“Introducing these two new bands for offshore wind shows our commitment to support these technologies at the right levels, and in a way which limits the cost to consumers.

“These new bands, available only in Scotland, will help bring down the cost of developing offshore wind in our deeper waters.”

Scotland possesses immense wind energy potential, it is estimated that over 25% of the EU’s total wind energy potential is found in Scotland.  Once developed, the massive wind energy capacity of 159 GW far outstrips Scotland’s own peak requirement of 10.5 GW.

Whitelee wind farm near Glasgow is Europe’s largest wind farm generating 322 MW of electricity, this will increase to 593 MW from 215 turbines when a planned expansion is complete.

Wind power is Scotland’s fastest growing renewable energy sector. The Scottish Government has committed to ensuring that 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs are met by renewable energy by 2020, most of which is expected to come from wind energy.  By last year 39% of Scotland’s energy needs were met by renewable energy, and the country is on course to meet the ambitious target. 

More than a third of the entire UK’s renewables output is from Scotland.  However the UK Government does not share Scotland’s commitment to renewable energy, with many Conservatives refusing to support measures to promote and develop the renewable sector.

Commenting, Economy, Energy and Tourism committee member SNP MSP Mike Mackenzie said:

“This is very welcome news that will help secure even more investment and jobs as we continue to work hard to exploit Scotland’s huge offshore renewables potential.

“Introducing these new bands, available only in Scotland, underlines the SNP Government’s commitment to support offshore technologies at the right levels in a way which limits costs to consumers.

“They will bring down the cost of developing offshore wind in our deeper waters.

“These moves from the Scottish Government stand in stark contrast to the continuing uncertainty down south caused by Westminster’s energy bill delays.

“Last week – despite industry calls for action – Westminster failed to pass an amendment to the UK’s Energy Bill which would have seen the whole of the UK following Scotland’s example and set a target to de-carbonise electricity by 2030.

“Today’s announcement is yet further evidence that Scotland is leading the way in renewables illustrating yet again that the best people to govern Scotland are the people who care most, and know most about Scotland – the people who live here.”

Wind is only one part of Scotland’s renewable energy potential which is vast.  Last month it was claimed the nation was on the verge of a green energy revolution with wave and tidal power highlighted.

Scotland’s waters are estimated to have around a quarter of Europe’s potential tidal energy resource and ten per cent of its potential wave resource.  Scotland’s total practical offshore resource is estimated at well over 200 gigawatts.