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Major offshore wind farm misses out on government renewables funding

Only one Scottish offshore wind farm, Neart na Gaoithe near Fife, has received support.

Offshore Wind Farm: Crown Office approves Aberdeen development.
© iStockphoto

A major offshore wind farm scheme has failed to secure a funding deal from the UK Government.

Moray Offshore Renewables (MOR) missed out on a contract which could have guaranteed the price of energy sold by the scheme for 15 years.

MOR plans to build three 62-turbine wind farms in the Outer Moray Firth. The project was approved by the Scottish Government in March 2014.

Twenty-seven renewables projects which could power 1.4 million homes have been awarded £315m by Westminster. But only one Scottish offshore wind farm - Neart na Gaoithe near Fife - has received support.

Ten onshore wind farms across the the Highlands, Moray, Dumfries and Galloway and Strathclyde were backed. In total, these projects will generate enough energy to power 600,000 homes.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: "We are pleased to see one Scottish [offshore] project offered a contract in this process.

"With Neart na Gaoithe and the Beatrice development in the Moray Firth, we now have just over one gigawatt 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."

Energy secretary Ed Davey said the approved schemes could create "thousands" of jobs.

He added: "The auction has driven down prices and secured the best possible deal for this new clean, green energy."

Gina Hanrahan, climate and energy policy officer for WWF Scotland said: “Today’s results are an important milestone for the renewables industry providing clear evidence that these technologies are rapidly reducing their costs in a competitive process.

"Onshore wind and solar are now significantly cheaper than nuclear power and offshore wind has also cut costs substantially.

"However, to ensure the continued growth of the offshore wind industry, attract supply chain investment, and continue to bring down costs, the next UK Government must provide a stable and sustained funding pipeline for offshore wind and clear volume signals in the 2020s.

"We’re calling on all political parties to make the growth of our offshore wind sector a key plank of their energy vision.”

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, added: “Granting a contract to only one Scottish offshore windfarm, 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.

“Climate change and energy security concerns mean that Scotland and the UK need to make a rapid transition away from fossil fuels to clean, green energy. Scotland has huge potential for power from offshore wind farms and this technology is key in reducing carbon emissions.

“Meanwhile, the UK Government is happy to bend over backwards and spend tens of billions to support risky nuclear schemes like Hinkley Point C. Today’s announcement is another nail in the coffin of the coalition government’s ridiculous claim to being the greenest government ever.”

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