Ministers have been warned that the UK risks forfeiting leadership of a promising new form of offshore wind power because of a withdrawal of subsidies which threatens to leave projects without funding. At least two proposed floating wind farms off Scotland will not go ahead, industry leaders said, unless a subsidy scheme due for expiry in October is extended. Several of the world’s largest offshore wind farms are already in operation or under construction around the UK but these all involve conventional turbine towers fixed to the seabed. Industry leaders say a bigger long-term opportunity exists in floating turbines, anchored to the seabed by cables, which can be deployed in deeper and windier waters further offshore. The first floating wind farm, the 30 megawatt Hywind project off Aberdeenshire, operated by Statoil of Norway, opened off the east coast of Scotland last October. Three more are under development with combined planned investment of £425m. Two of these – the 60MW Forthwind and 10MW Dounreay Tri projects – will not be generating electricity in time to meet an October deadline to qualify for a form of subsidies known as Renewables Obligation Certificates (Rocs). RenewableUK, which represents the UK wind industry, is lobbying for an 18-month extension of the deadline to April 2020. “Without this first group of projects we will not be able to build UK expertise and that would be a huge lost opportunity,” said Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK.
FT 18th Feb 2018 read more »