Scottish wind generation hits record levels in first quarter
Scottish wind power generated a record 4,452GWh of electricity in the first quarter of 2015, enough to power almost a million Scottish homes for a year, according to figures published today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The data for Scotland also showed installed renewable energy capacity rose by 9% last year to 7,383 MW in the first three months of 2015.
But Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing warned Scotland’s progress could be hampered by the impact of the government’s plans to end subsidies under the Renewables Obligation for onshore wind.
Ewing said: “Scotland accounts for around a third of the total UK renewable generation. Given the record amounts of power now coming from wind, and a healthy pipeline of wind projects with consent and in planning, the UK Government’s proposals will have a profound and disproportionate impact on Scotland.”
Ewing added he had invited Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd to visit Scotland to meet with members of the industry: “Amber Rudd has accepted my invitation to come to Scotland this summer to meet with industry and developers and see the harmful effects this decision will have.
“Onshore wind is one of the most cost effective renewable energies, yet the UK government’s perverse decision to end support puts this hard work and progress in jeopardy and the Scottish Government will continue to argue against it.”
WWF Scotland added its support to onshore wind development, claiming the UK Government was “pulling the rug” from beneath the industry.
WWF Scotland head of policy Dr Sam Gardner said the decision to end the onshore wind subsidy was “undermining confidence and putting future investment, and all the economic, environmental and health benefits this could bring, at risk.”
He added: “The UK Government needs to restore confidence to a very nervous energy sector by providing a stable policy framework and a level playing field for onshore wind in competitive auctions.”
The figures follow Amber Rudd’s speech to members of the renewable energy industry at RenewableUK’s offshore wind conference yesterday, with Rudd announcing the Government subsidy for offshore wind must be “progressively reduced” and reiterating the Government’s end to new onshore subsidies, saying: “We already have enough onshore wind in the pipeline to hit the middle of the range we need for that technology.”