Scores ‘question ability’ of remote islands to win onshore wind contracts

Western Isles
A windfarm near Thurso. Northern and Western Isles plans will get more cash than mainland ones

Respondents to the UK Government consultation on remote island wind claim that “many now question the ability” of those projects to win Contracts for Difference (CfD) award rounds.

Speaking on the issue of ability for remote island wind projects to compete with larger, more established developments and even less established projects, respondents said that it may often lead to many onshore wind developments not being delivered.

They argue that in the instance of projects appearing undeliverable, the government “should pursue alternative means” to deliver on its manifesto commitment to support remote island energy.

Respondents claim that many projects would “not be competitive in Pot 1 (the group of “established” renewable technologies)”, but that many projects were also now “less competitive against other “less established” technologies in Pot 2, to the point where many now questioned the ability of remote island wind to win a CfD.”

Antony Skinner, renewables partner at law firm Ashurst, said: “It’s certainly good news that remote island wind projects will be eligible to compete for a CfD, but there is a risk that such projects may find it difficult to compete against other less established technologies.  That’s been the experience of emerging technologies in earlier CfD rounds.”

Others argue that the ability of remote island’s to be competitive within CfD auction rounds will bring a number of potential industrial and economic benefits, such as an increase market for the onshore wind supply chain.

Some respondents also argue that remote projects could bring could result in an “enhance transmission structure”, resulting in security of supply for islands such as the Shetlands, “that might otherwise have to be built at significant cost to consumers”.

Lord Duncan, UK Government minister for Scotland, said:“The UK Government is clear that we want to support remote island wind projects, and this announcement is confirmation that we are delivering on that commitment.

“Wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland have the potential to not only ensure an affordable energy supply for businesses and consumers, they also support economic growth and highly skilled jobs in communities.

“Clean growth is at the heart of the UK Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, and we know that remote island wind cuts emissions and contributes to the UK’s position as a world leader in renewable generation. This is an important step forward for Scottish remote island wind.”