The Scottish government is set to explore the option of paying higher support rates to offshore projects using floating turbines in Scottish waters.
Energy minister Fergus Ewing confirmed that the government would be launching a consultation on a new band for the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) - a form of government support for renewable energy - for "innovative offshore wind deployment in deep waters".
The new band will be targeted specifically at supporting demonstration projects, and will therefore likely be subjected to some sort of capacity cap.
Ewing also confirmed yesterday, as announced in July by the UK government, that all offshore projects between now and 2014/15 will receive two ROCs/MWh as a top-up, in addition to the price at which they sell their electricity.
In 2015/16, support will fall to 1.9 ROCs/MWh and in 2016/17 it will drop to 1.8.
The Scottish government’s move yesterday coincided with the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announcement of £11.2m (€13.5) in funding for offshore energy, £10m of which is available only for wind projects.
DECC, the UK’s innovation agency and the Technology Strategy Board will provide the £10m. Up to £7m will be invested in projects that relate to the experimental development and demonstration of component technologies of next-generation offshore wind systems.
The remaining £3m will be available for technical feasibility studies to bring new ideas to the offshore wind sector. DECC is encouraging applications not only from organisations already in the offshore wind sector, but also from parallel sectors such as oil and gas, defence, aerospace and automotive.
A further £1.2m from the Technology Strategy Board and the Natural Environment Research Council will establish "knowledge transfer partnerships" to stimulate the transfer of expertise from academia to business in the fields of offshore wind, wave, tidal stream and tidal range energy.