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Offshore wind costs will cripple local businesses, says Scottish organisation

The high costs of building offshore wind farms could cause energy prices to rise to a level that is unsustainable for Scottish businesses, Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) chairman Mike Salter has warned.

Following last week’s Scottish Low Carbon Investment conference in which Scottish first minister Alex Salmond espoused the government’s commitment to building a renewables industry in the region, Salter told the SCC annual dinner that urgent action should be taken to broaden the energy mix and manage demand.  

Salter said the cost of offshore wind projects is “going through the roof”. “This is indeed a very significant opportunity for Scotland, but only if the cost base is right,” he said. “If as a consequence the rest of the economy is disadvantaged then perhaps such a total commitment is misguided. We must focus on reducing our consumption as quickly as we can, but also using lower cost options for the energy we use. It is vitally important.” Salter said local businesses would collapse if their energy bills increased significantly.

Industry experts said at last week’s conference that they were confident economies of scale and technological developments would bring the cost of wind farms down to a reasonable level.

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