Delays in realising Scotland’s offshore wind ambitions are almost over, with the country nearing a “tipping point” in offshore development, first minister Alex Salmond said today, at Scottish Renewables’ offshore wind and supply chain conference in Aberdeen.
Announcing a goal to reduce average carbon emissions from Scottish electricity generation to 50g/kWh by 2030, Salmond said Scotland had “already travelled quite a distance” in reducing emissions and that large-scale roll-out of Scottish offshore wind capacity will be central to the goal being achieved.
Such a ‘decarbonisation’ target has been resisted, thus far, by the UK government, which has failed to include in its draft energy bill.
Heralding Scotland’s 22.8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, Salmond said: “Scotland is determined to meet its climate change obligations and is committed to the decarbonisation of electricity generation”.
“We could be reaching a tipping point for offshore wind,” he added, whereby large scale capacity begins to come onstream. Likening the offshore wind industry today to the UK’s oil and gas industry in the 1970s, Salmond noted: “Just as the technical barriers were overcome, so the barriers to offshore wind development will be overcome too”.
As previously reported by Windpower Offshore, Scotland has struggled to keep pace with England and Wales in offshore wind development. It boasts just 190MW of installed capacity despite some of the best offshore wind resources in Europe. 5GW of offshore capacity is under consideration by permitting authorities, but no new offshore turbines have been installed in recent months.
More positively, Scotland is proving successful in attracting offshore wind manufacturing investment, with Areva confirming last autumn that it plans to build a production facility there.