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Call for change on island wind policy

UK wind farm

Allowing remote island onshore wind projects to access government subsidies could lead to £1.3bn of investment in Scotland, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has argued.

The government has been holding a consultation – which closes today (31 January) – on its position on non-mainland onshore wind projects. It argues that projects on the Scottish islands of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles should not receive a different strike price to mainland onshore wind under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme.

It means that despite the islands being well-suited to onshore wind generation due to their weather conditions, they could lose out on a revenue stream which comes from funding for less established technologies such as tidal and offshore wind. Funding for established technologies – including onshore wind – will not be included in the next CfD auction.

In short, CECA wants the wind farm projects on the island to fall under the ‘less established’ technology category to receive the subsidies given via the CfD scheme. It argues that changing the policy could attract up to £1.3bn of investment to the region and contribute to the UK’s carbon targets.

“The remote islands are a fantastic wind resource and are ideally placed to generate a reliable source of renewable electricity,” said CECA head of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming.

“We understand that support for development of wind farms is high within local communities given the economic benefits that they will bring.

“The development of onshore wind on the remote islands would send a strong message to our industry on the government’s commitment to investment outside the South-East of England, help secure long-term economic growth across the UK, and help meet our rapidly approaching carbon targets.”

The renewables sector represents 10% of the Scottish civil engineering workload and generates more than £300M of activity per year.

The consultation – called Contracts for Difference: consultation on treatment of non-mainland GB onshore wind projects – has been open since November and closes today (31 January).

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