Scottish renewable energy developer SSE Renewables has been given the green-light to begin construction on its first subsidy-free onshore wind farm in the Scottish Highlands.
The firm confirmed an 11-turbine extension to the existing 70 megawatt (MW), 35-turbine Gordonbush onshore wind farm.
The installed capacity of the extension will be 47MW.
It is understood the wind farm will be built on a merchant basis and is one of only a few onshore projects to get the green light in GB in recent years after government support was halted after 2015.
The wind farm will be located 7 miles north west of Brora in the Scottish Highlands and construction on the extension will commence in March.
But Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables, warned today that merchant investments are only possible for a limited number of projects.
He said onshore wind “won’t be deployed” at the rate needed to reach Scotland and the UK’s net zero targets without intervention from government to provide “revenue stabilisation”.
Mr Smith claimed this could come through access to Contract for Difference (CfD) auctions or more robust carbon pricing over the long term to stabilise future power prices.
He said: “Onshore wind is the cheapest form of low carbon generation and brings job and investment to rural communities. Yet despite the climate emergency, onshore wind construction is at the lowest it has been in a decade.
“We urge the UK Government to ensure onshore wind can be developed at the pace and scale set out by the Committee on Climate Change by providing investors with more certainty over the income they will receive for generating zero-carbon power in the longer term.
“Accelerating onshore wind development would be a quick win for Government as it looks to set out plans to meet net zero in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow this year.”