Funding blow forces wind farm developer to put plans on hold

An onshore wind farm.
An onshore wind farm.

A wind farm developer has claimed a lack of government funding has put its plans on hold.

Mountwest 838 Limited was granted permission to build three turbines on land at Mains of Cainbrogie, Oldmeldrum, in 2016.

However, the developer claims that just before Aberdeenshire Council approved the project, a decision was taken to
scrap a UK Government funding stream.

The feed-in-tariff was designed to support small-scale onshore renewable projects, but was scrapped at the end of last month.

Now Mountwest has applied to the council to extend the duration of their planning permission in an effort to find alternative funding.

A supporting statement, written by civil engineering firm Case Consultancy on behalf of the developer, states that the firm did not expect the tariff fund to “substantially” change.

It adds: “The commercial viability of the project at that time was entirely dependent on the ability of the developer to secure the anticipated feed-in-tariff.”

Last night, Scottish Renewables said the scrapping of the fund has led to “enormous uncertainty” for smaller firms.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager, said: “The feed-in-tariff scheme has been tremendously important in supporting small-scale renewables, community-owned energy and the smarter, cleaner energy system which we need to fight climate change.

“Small-scale renewable energy has produced enormous benefits for the UK: it’s allowed homeowners and communities to take control of their energy supply, reducing their bills and carbon emissions, as well as enabling rural businesses to invest and grow.

“The closure of the scheme at the end of last month means a period of enormous uncertainty for the companies that install these projects and for the people who work for them, as well as for the customers they serve.”

The developer could not be reached for comment.