Offshore wind developers could be set to receive an advantage from a new round of Government subsidies for renewable energy after a larger-than-expected Westminster funding committed its efforts towards a single objective.
A new tranche of support for renewable projects, with industry body Scottish Renewables could help bolster prospects for a sector still being courted by officials in Fife and Dundee.
A competitive auction for the new Contracts for Difference recently commenced with up to £235 million per annum available for offshore wind projects allowing the large-scale reform of energy markets.
The subsidy agreements assured operators a minimum price for the power generated by the present installations providing for certainty for investors looking for a return on their capital.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change anticipated the procedure in assisting in delivering the new green energy while lowering average yearly bills by more than £40 by 2030.
Solar and onshore wind projects competed for a smaller yearly pot of £65 million, indicative of their position as already viable technologies.
The U.K.’s energy sector which deals with a legacy of underinvestment to build a new generation of cleaner and more secure power supplies that limits the reliance on volatile foreign market and by making projects compete for support, they are making sure than consumers could achieve the best possible deal as well as a secure and clean power sector.
According to the Scottish Renewables, the budget boost may potentially increase the likelihood of projects securing the support in the first allocation round yet the industry body called for DECC to disclose details of future funding rounds and the said department must double its efforts to secure the European state aid clearance for special CFDs that are better suited to the secluded Scottish islands.
SSE announced that it would take the first phase of its large Seagreen wind project in the outer Firth of Tay and Fourth, albeit the lack of confidence in the viability of the U.K.’s offshore wind sector.
Its decision followed the exclusion of the project from the U.K. government subsidy design, but the same also said it would continue to place investments in the Beatrice prospect in the Moray Firth while at the same time cutting its equity interest from 75 % to 50 %.
A spokesman for the group said that the plans for the Seagreen remained practically unchanged but alleged that the SSE would not be pushing for new approaches to the new CFD auction because of commercial confidentiality constraints.
The three-phase 3.5GW development is by far the biggest of three major wind diversities being pursued by developers within striking distance of Scotland’s east coast. At the present rate, it would be expected to reach a hefty excess of £10 billion.
Majority Renewable Power, developer of the 450MW Neart na Gaoitthe, has since made indications in seeking approval for the project under the outgoing renewable obligation certificate system.
Repsol Nuevas Energias, which owns a 51 % stake in the 905 MW Inch Cape windfarm, did not reply to the Courier’s request for comment.
Finally, GDF Suez which supported backed plans for a £200 million on Lewis, had pulled out of the project which cited delays to a subsea cable required to carry the electricity produced to the mainland.