Renewable energy strike prices do not aid marine energy development in UK

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Revised renewable energy strike prices are causing frustration for Scotland’s Orkney Islands Council after special rates are denied for wave and tidal infrastructure off the coast of Scotland.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander released the information about the new subsidies yesterday. According to the BBC, Alexander commented that the new prices would be more of “a rebalancing” as opposed to a new plan and that overall expenditures would not change.

The strike prices are intended to promote long-term investment in multiple forms of renewable generation, including wind, solar, wave, and tidal power. The prices guarantee the rates the government will pay per unit of electricity from renewable generation sources. These figures are used to offer security and incentive to potential investors.

Orkney Islands Council is asking the ministers to rethink its rulings regarding marine energy. According to the Council, a higher strike price called an “island uplift” was proposed to accommodate the larger expense of transmission from Scotland’s islands. The newly released strike prices include an island uplift for onshore wind, but did not offer the same subsidy for wave or tidal power generation.

“Wave and tidal energy are central to the UK meeting its climate change and clean energy targets – it’s vital that strike prices reflect the added challenges of harnessing marine energy in Scotland’s islands, to ensure developers and investors are not turned back by the higher costs involved, thus losing the UK its hard won lead in this new global industry,” commented Steven Heddle, convener of Orkney Islands Council.

“We would urge the UK Government to give serious consideration to introduction an islands uplift for islands-based marine renewables, and to urgently progress grid underwriting and guarantees for island transmission links, so that the country’s greatest marine energy resources can contribute to meeting avowed national targets.

The newly released document, “Investing in renewable technologies – CfD contract terms and strike prices,” is available for download at the www.gov.uk publications website.

For more wave and tidal news, click here.

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