Highlands & Islands

Scottish wind farm projects secure contracts

Offshore wind turbines
Image caption Hundreds of turbines have been proposed for the Outer Moray Firth

A major offshore wind farm planned for the Firth of Forth is one of 11 Scottish renewable projects which have been awarded UK government contracts to supply electricity.

The 448 megawatt Neart na Gaoithe could generate power for 319,000 properties.

The developer Mainstream Renewable Power said it was "delighted" to be awarded a contract.

However, a massive offshore project proposed for the Outer Moray Firth missed out.

Developer Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd said it was "disappointed" but plans to bid for a contract later this year.

Inch Cape, a 110-turbine offshore wind farm proposed for a site off Dundee, also failed to secure a contract.

The 11 Scottish projects in the Highlands, Strathclyde, Moray and Dumfries and Galloway were among UK schemes that bid for Department of Energy and Climate Change Contracts for Difference (CFD).

The contracts, which are offered in rounds of auctions, provide long-term certainty for investors in renewable energy schemes.

Successful projects receive 15-year contracts to supply electricity to the National Grid.

Neart na Gaoithe will be the first large-scale offshore wind farm constructed and operated in Scottish waters to be directly connected to the Scottish electricity system.

Andy Kinsella, of Mainstream Renewable Power, said: "Mainstream is delighted to have been awarded this contract today and we look forward to getting the wind farm construction-ready over the coming months in partnership with Siemens and GeoSea.

"Today's announcement is the result of seven years of dedication and demonstrates Mainstream's world-class expertise in project development, engineering and finance."


Scottish projects offered contracts

  • 448MW Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm in the Firth of Forth - could supply power to 319,000 properties
  • 177MW Dorenell onshore wind farm near Dufftown - 97,000
  • 104MW Kype Muir onshore wind farm near Strathaven - 57,000
  • 60MW Middle Muir onshore wind farm near Crawfordjohn - 33,000
  • 39.1MW Tom nan Clach onshore wind farm near Inverness - 21,000
  • 37.5MW Solwaybank onshore wind farm near Langholm - 20,000
  • 37.5MW Sneddon Law onshore wind farm near Moscow, Ayrshire - 20,000
  • 30MW Coire na Cloiche onshore wind farm near Alness - 16,000
  • 29.9MW Bad a Cheo onshore wind farm near Spittal - 16,000
  • 20MW Tralorg onshore wind farm near Girvan - 11,000
  • 10MW Achlachan onshore wind farm near Watten - 5,000

Scottish Renewables has welcomed the awarding of contracts to the schemes in Scotland.

Chief executive Niall Stuart said: "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."

Morl, which plans to build three wind farms called Telford, Stevenson and MacColl with up to 62 turbines on each site, said it was "disappointed" to miss out.

The project's Dan Finch said: "We have worked closely along with our stakeholders, the supply chain and government to deliver an excellent project with significant opportunities for cost reduction.

"We anticipate that the UK government will remain committed to the deployment of offshore wind as a competitive technology capable of delivering improved security of supply, carbon reduction and jobs.

"We therefore call on government to send a strong signal to investors about future support for offshore wind, with a long-term view of future funding rounds to avoid the risks to cost reduction and job creation which short-termism creates."

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "These results are very disappointing. Granting a contract to only one Scottish offshore wind farm, and only one other in the rest of the UK, shows how little interest the current UK government has in cleaning up our energy supply."

'Bigger ambitions'

In a separate project planned for the Outer Moray Firth, Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited plans to install a further 110 turbines in the Outer Moray Firth.

The Scottish government gave the Morl and Beatrice projects the go-ahead in March last year.

At the time, it said the combined development off the Caithness coast would make it the world's third biggest offshore wind farm.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the Scottish government had "bigger ambitions" for offshore wind.

"The UK government must provide the confidence that sufficient money will be available to allow the offshore wind industry to move forward with assurance," he said.

"We continue to call on the UK government to commit now to a budget for future allocation rounds to ensure that developers have the certainty needed to progress development plans."

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the announcement underlined the UK government's commitment to delivering renewable generation in Scotland and across the rest of the UK.

He said: "This will help deliver a number of important projects, benefiting communities across the country while ensuring the costs are spread across the larger UK-wide consumer base.

"Ultimately this round of contracts could deliver nearly 1GW of renewable electricity."

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