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A welcome shift in wind energy north of the border

Words: Jenny Hogan, Deputy Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables

The UK has more offshore wind turbines than any other country in the world. But while Scotland has 25% of the whole European wind resource, only around 5% of the UK’s offshore wind fleet is currently north of the border.

Finally, however, that is starting to change.

Record-low prices in September’s Contracts for Difference saw EDPR’s Moray East project succeed where it had previously lost out. This scheme will now join SSE’s Beatrice in the stormy seas off our North East coast.

It isn’t just the wind farms themselves which are happening in Scotland, either.

Two events in coming months – a Floating Offshore Wind Conference on November 14 and Scottish Renewables’ Offshore Wind Conference on January 29-30 – will allow a burgeoning supply chain to share ideas with developers and decision-makers.

Both come at a key time for the sector, with policy optimism still buoying up offshore wind following the largely-positive Clean Growth Strategy and secondly, the CfD auction results.

The results of this auction were good news for Scotland, for our environment and for our energy system.

The cost reductions in offshore wind have been dramatic and are testament to the determination of developers to drive down costs and show the importance of ensuring a viable, competitive route to market is available for all clean power technologies.

That positivity, for offshore wind at least, was also reflected in the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which last month (October) set out some important commitments from the UK Government, which will further our transition to a low-carbon economy.

In particular the renewed support for offshore wind deployment and innovation, and the commitment to work with the industry on a Sector Deal, is to be welcomed – as is the commitment of £557 million to be made available for future power contract auctions, with the next scheduled for Spring 2019.

Beatrice is currently the only one of Scotland’s consented commercial offshore wind projects under construction, but the figures which underpin it are staggering.

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