Efforts by the RSPB to block a wind farm could hand its developer a huge unintended bonus. Mainstream Renewable Power’s proposed Neart na Gaoithe project off Scotland won a subsidy contract from the government in February 2015, guaranteeing a record price of £114.39 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for the electricity it will generate. However, legal challenges by the RSPB, which fears that the turbines will kill seabirds, have prevented it from going ahead. Offshore wind farm costs have since plunged with contracts last week being awarded to projects at £57.50 per MWh. Mainstream’s contract, known as a CfD, still stands, meaning that if the RSPB’s challenge fails, the project would be able to reap far higher returns. Andy Kinsella, chief executive of Mainstream, said that it intended to sell the project on to other companies and had received interest from at least two dozen prospective buyers. The government agency that manages the contracts tried to strip Mainstream of the contract after a year of delays but was overruled by an arbitration panel. The RSPB has argued that the Scottish government failed to properly assess the impact of Neart na Gaoithe and three other proposed wind farms in the firths of Forth and Tay when granting planning permission.
Times 18th Sept 2017 read more »