Boost for Scotland's renewables industry from first UK green power auction

In total, 11 of 27 renewables projects which will receive a contract for the electricity they produce are in Scotland – enough to power the equivalent of more than 600,000 homes ---- Offshore wind project allocated funding – laying foundations of new industry ---- Onshore wind now around 10% cheaper than nuclear power

Scotland's renewables industry received a welcome boost this morning (Feb 26) with one of the country's offshore wind projects allocated funding for the next 15 years, and support announced for a number of onshore wind farms.

Neart na Gaoithe, a wind farm in the Firth of Forth, has been awarded a contract to sell the power it will generate in the Department of Energy and Climate Change's first ever green power auction.

Two-thirds of the UK onshore wind projects successful in this auction round will be constructed in Scotland, with the technology now around 10% cheaper than new nuclear power.

Offshore wind

The Neart na Gaoithe wind farm is expected to create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs during its construction as well as throughout its operational life.

Mr Stuart continued: "We are pleased to see one Scottish project offered a contract in this process.

"With Neart na Gaoithe and the Beatrice development in the Moray Firth, we now have just over 1GW of offshore wind in Scottish waters with funding secured and moving towards a final investment decision.

"This represents a significant volume of projects with the potential to really kick-start offshore wind in Scotland. The success of the East Anglia 1 scheme is also good news for Glasgow-based ScottishPower Renewables.

"Scotland's offshore wind ambitions, however, go far beyond this. There remain almost 3GW of projects with planning permission which will still be looking to secure contracts in the future. Together they could create over 10,000 jobs during construction and over £2 billion in GVA. For them, the focus is now on the next auction, which is likely to start within the next 12 months.

"Yet we still have no indication of the size of the budget that will be available and competition for support could be even tighter. It is essential DECC gives some clarity on this as quickly as possible so that the projects, and the supply chain, can plan their future."

Mr Stuart also highlighted that the successful bids were lower than previous levels of support for the industry: "With this one auction we have seen costs come down for offshore wind significantly and the industry on the way to its target of a 30% reduction in cost by 2020."

Onshore wind

The price of onshore wind has fallen in this auction round, the first of a number of auctions which will be held over the next five years.

Scottish Renewables' Chief Executive Mr Stuart continued: "Today's result outlines the increasing competitiveness of onshore wind in Scotland, where two thirds of today's successful projects are located.

"This means onshore wind is now around 10% cheaper than new nuclear and is fast becoming competitive with gas. Each unit of power from onshore wind and solar is now around 10% cheaper than the agreed cost of electricity from the proposed nuclear plant at Hinckley Point.

"What the renewables industry needs now is to know what the budget for the next auction rounds will be. That information - coupled with an extension of the government's commitment to renewables out to 2030 – would give developers the certainty to secure private finance to build their projects."

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