Keith Findlay, 23rd June 2012
Tens of millions of pounds of investment in smaller-scale hydropower projects in Scotland could be unlocked by the outcome of a review of a green-energy support scheme, industry leaders have predicted.
Many potential schemes have been put on hold while the UK Government considers changes to rates paid under the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) support scheme. An announcement on the review is expected soon.
The British Hydropower Association believes investment of as much as £100million in Scotland is being held back by the uncertainty over the FiT scheme, which provides guaranteed financial returns from investment in renewable-energy projects.
David Williams, the industry body’s chief executive, said removing uncertainty over future FiT rates would unlock a significant amount of fresh investment in hydro, with many potential schemes having been in limbo for more than 18 months.
SmartestEnergy, which buys electricity from independent generators, estimates that £5.1million has been paid to hydro projects in Scotland over the past year. The firm, whose hydro customers include Conaglen Estate in the Highlands, added it alone had paid more than £2.8million in Scotland and over £17.8million nationwide under the FiT scheme for wind, solar, hydro and anaerobic digestion projects in 2011-12.