Growing uncertainty in Scotland's offshore wind sector as investment dips

The Scottish offshore wind industry could be threatened by an investment hiatus after figures showed major developers had more than halved their spending in Scotland.

Scottish Renewables, which represents more than 330 companies working in the renewable energy sector, obtained figures from offshore wind developers with projects in Scottish waters about their investments in Scotland during 2013. The findings suggest £28.9m was spent in 2013 compared to £63.6m in 2012. Total investment to date now stands at £193.4m.

Lindsay Leask, Senior Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables, said:

"Uncertainty throughout the industry is growing as none of the major projects planned for Scottish waters have had their planning applications determined yet, and the details around accessing market incentives are still unclear."

She went on to say that offshore wind farm developers can't afford to be "left in limbo".

"With around 5 gigawatts of potential offshore wind development in planning - enough to meet the annual demand of 3 million homes – we can't afford to see these projects, and the investment decisions related to them, left in limbo.

"Scotland has all the ingredients to develop a world leading offshore wind industry. Our exceptional wind resource and internationally renowned skill sets make these projects incredibly attractive and competitive propositions. This is evidenced by the level of investment that is still coming forward from committed developers in spite of the significant challenges facing the industry.

"Yet a reduction of some 55% in a year is cause for concern not only for the sector, but should also be a worrying sign for the Scottish and UK governments too. We'll be working hard over the coming weeks with governments north and south of the border to ensure the developers gain the certainty they need to unlock further investment."

There has, however, been more positive news for those companies working in offshore wind at a smaller scale and throughout the supply chain.

"We are seeing some really exciting developments around innovation and across the supply chain in Scotland. 2013 has been an interesting year with the next generation of turbines being installed off the Fife and Ayrshire coasts, a £15 million Scottish Innovative Foundation Technologies Fund launched, and Statoil given the green light to develop floating turbines off the coast of Peterhead."

The Offshore Wind: Investing in Scotland 2013 analysis is published ahead of a major conference in Aberdeen this week which will see approximately 900 attendees gather for what is the largest offshore wind event in Scotland.

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