Launching its offshore wind route map in Scotland last week, the Scottish government announced a new target for electricity generation of 50gCO2/kWh, in line with recommendations made by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change.
And, as Scotland gears up for a referendum on independence in 2014, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond lambasted the Westminster government for failing to introduce a UK-wide decarbonisation target in its Energy Bill, which he said is undermining investment in offshore renewable technologies.
“UK coalition ministers’ mixed messages on energy policy and continuing uncertainty around Electricity Market Reform [Energy Bill], including the lack of a decarbonisation target until at least 2016, is undermining confidence and threatening investment by the supply chain,” he said.
He added: “Having stated our ambition for a largely-decarbonised electricity supply by 2030, the Scottish government is now setting a specific target to guide our overall policy approach and set the context for decisions on applications for electricity generation. We will now consult with stakeholders on the implementation of this ambitious target. I join the industry, again, in urging Westminster to follow suit.”
The move was welcomed by renewables developers. Dan Finch, UK Managing Director of EDP Renovaveis and co-chair of Scotland’s Offshore Wind Industry Group (OWIG), said: “To build a long-term sustainable industry and to insulate consumers from rising fossil fuel costs, we need a strong political commitment to renewables. Setting decarbonisation targets is a key part of delivering the confidence necessary for investment.”
Salmond, who is pushing for Scotland to become independent of the UK after 2016, also announced that a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) had been signed between Highland & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and four key ports in the region to support the development of the offshore wind sector. The MoUs with Port of Ardersier, Kishorn Port Limited, Cromarty Firth Port Authority and Global Energy Nigg, aim to support owners and operators to secure consents, market opportunities, attract investments and enable further development.
The partnership also aims to help the ports attract a potential £100m of investment to the Highlands, and help industry meet the government’s target of 10GW of renewables capacity installed in Scottish waters over the next decade.
“The offshore wind supply chain is showing strong interest in Scottish ports and harbours, and these official agreements give the market the strongest possible statement that the ports in the Highlands and Islands are open for renewables business,” said HIE Chief Executive Alex Paterson. “HIE is fully committed to working with ports across the region to ensure that they are ready to support manufacture, fabrication, assembly, deployment and operational support for the Scottish, UK and European offshore wind market.”