Four gigantic new wind energy projects are now set to be developed off the coast of Scotland as per the recent decision by the Scottish Government to give them the green light.
Altogether, the four projects in question — the Neart Na Gaoithe project being developed by Mainstream Renewable Energy; the Inch Cape project being developed by Repsol Nuevas Energias UK and EDPR; and the Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo projects being developed by SSE and Fluor — will represent roughly 2.2 GW of new wind energy capacity if built.
Once completed, the projects will represent a major step towards Scotland’s goal of being powered 100% by renewable electricity by 2020. As well as, for that matter, a big increase in the country’s wind energy infrastructure.
There are a number of other projects currently under development in addition these four, though. Altogether, a total of 4.15 GW of wind energy projects have been approved in Scotland.
The Scottish government is expecting an economic boom worth £314 million to £1.2 billion for these projects.
“The Scottish Government was angered at the start of this year when none of its projects was chosen for initial support under the new Contract for Difference (CfD) regime. SSE’s Beatrice Wind farm eventually bagged a contract after two other developers dropped out of the race, but the Scottish government remains concerned that its schemes could miss out in future auctions,” Business Green reports. “Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the decision today was designed to give these four projects a better chance of securing a CfD contract.”
Ewing also made it clear that he viewed Westminster’s recently approved plans to provide financing to aid the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point (£24.5 billion) very poorly.
“The level of support available to the offshore renewables sector sits in stark contrast to the unprecedented financial backing being offered to new nuclear plants, with a possible £35 billion subsidy for the new Hinkley Point C station alone in addition to a £10 billion loan guarantee,” Ewing stated.
“This inevitably means that growth in green energy will be restricted, a sector where Scotland has a competitive advantage.”
There’s a great deal of frustration over the massive subsidies being promised to Hinkley Point C, as well as what look to be a couple of lawsuits. Not only is the disagreement about whether or not nuclear reactors are “green,” they are also extremely expensive, and subsidies don’t lead to industry cost reductions like they do with wind and solar power. We’ll have more articles coming in the coming days about Hinkley Point C.
Overall, it’s great to see Scotland moving forward with such ambitious offshore wind energy plans. The UK as a whole has more offshore wind power installed than the entire rest of the world, but there are still a great deal of wind resources of the Scottish shore waiting to be tapped.
Image Credit: Siemens