A new study has shown that Scotland’s next generation of onshore wind projects could cut costs by at least 20%, if Scotland and UK Governments work together with industry and regulators.
Published by Scotland’s renewable energy trade body Scottish Renewables, the new study shows that if the UK and Scottish Governments work together with industry and regulators to remove “a range of barriers” which the authors of the report believe “are preventing the sector from cutting costs even further,” onshore wind costs could be reduced by 20%.
In fact, the study shows that Scotland’s onshore wind industry is already one of the lowest-cost forms of new electricity generation, but by removing further barriers could see costs cut by at least 20% — or more than £150 million a year.
“The cost of onshore wind has come down significantly over recent years, and it is now one of the most competitive forms of new electricity generation in the UK,” said Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables. “This report shows that we can cut costs even further if government, industry and regulators work together to make sure we can use the latest generation of turbines on suitable sites, reduce grid charges, and deploy energy storage technologies.
“Deploying the latest generation of turbines has the biggest impact on costs, however, reducing them by £11/MWh,” Roberts continued. “The report sets out just how competitive onshore wind in Scotland can be, and shows that it makes no sense for the UK Government to exclude the technology from long-term contracts for clean power. Without it, we will all be paying for more expensive alternatives.”
The new study, Onshore Wind in Scotland: Opportunities for Reducing Costs and Enhancing Value, was commissioned by Scottish Renewables and produced by Everoze. Specifically, the report outlines ten separate interventions across three themes:
The key finding from the report is that “costs can be reduced and investment encouraged significantly via a smarter planning system, a transformed grid, and a revolution in revenue models.”
The authors note further that many of the suggested interventions “are highly feasible and would have a significant impact on the levelized cost of onshore wind in Scotland in the years to come.”
“The work is designed to be more than just another policy report to sit on the shelf gathering dust,” explained Zoe Barnes, Head of Scottish Office at Everoze. “This is about identifying concrete actions for government, industry and relevant stakeholders to find common ground to enable onshore wind to fulfill its potential in Scotland — delivering reliable, affordable and clean energy at the heart of the power sector.
“Based on our analysis, we estimate that the changes proposed could cut costs by at least 20%, meaning potential savings upwards of £150 million a year.”