Scotland boosts renewables support for offshore wind but cuts for onshore and biomass

Scotland today unveiled its latest levels of support for renewables, including higher rates for offshore wind, cuts for onshore wind and biomass and a hold on the current rates for hydro.

Energy Minister Fegus Ewing said that the Scottish government wanted to keep Scotland’s Renewables Obligation as consistent as possible with the rest of the UK, but added that “there are areas where we believe that a different course of action is necessary and in Scotland’s interests”.

Ewing announced:

  • Support for hydro generation will remain at one Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) per MWh, not the 0.7 as proposed in the rest of the UK;
  • Proposals to consult upon and introduce a new band for innovative offshore wind deployment in deep waters;
  • Removal of support from April 2013 for wood-fuelled (biomass) stations with a total installed capacity greater than 10 MW, and which do not capture and use the heat produced;
  • As announced in July, support for onshore wind will be reduced by 10 per cent. The band will remain at this level until 2017 unless new evidence on costs emerges, delivering certainty for investors.

He said hydro was being kept at its current level because “future developments will be on a smaller scale and more challenging”.

On offshore wind he said Scotland had “huge potential, but a lot of that resource is in far greater water depths than elsewhere in the UK, which is challenging and costly to exploit. That’s why I have announced our intention to consult upon and introduce a new band for innovative ways to deploy offshore wind in Scotland’s deeper and more challenging waters.”

He said the cut in onshore wind support “recognises the success and reduced costs this sector is enjoying”.

On biomass he said the government was concerned over competition for a finite supply of wood and therefore it was right “that we are removing support for those biomass stations over 10 MW that do not provide good quality combined heat and power”.

Ewing said that in the past decade the Renewables Obligation had “helped to almost triple renewable output in Scotland, and attract around  £2.8 billion of investment since 2009”.

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