Eight miles off the Caithness coast in the Moray Firth, SSE has just installed the 84th and final turbine of the Beatrice offshore wind farm (Emily Gosden writes). When the £2.6 billion, 588-megawatt project is fully running this summer, it should generate enough electricity to power 450,000 homes – and enough cash to make a healthy return for the energy group. In 2014, the government awarded a contract guaranteeing SSE an inflation-linked price of £140 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity that Beatrice generates – more than £158 in today’s money, or roughly treble present market prices. The project, of which SSE owns 40 per cent, could be in line for £250 million a year in subsidies. Shortly before it won the contract, SSE had a very public wobble over the prospects for offshore wind, putting projects on hold and questioning the sector’s viability amid high costs. The fears proved to be unfounded: costs fell precipitously, aided by the development of bigger, more powerful turbines. Projects with high subsidies like Beatrice now look very lucrative, and the prospects for the industry look bright. SSE is now pinning its growth prospects on plans to build many, many more offshore turbines. The plans hinge on government auctions to award subsidy contracts, the latest of which kicked off yesterday. Ministers have budgeted for up to £60 million a year and say that could fund six gigawatts of new turbines. Electricity prices have been capped at only £56/MWh for projects starting up in 2023-24, falling to £53 in 2024-45 (in 2012 money). The results and price will not be known until later this year, but SSE is in a position to win big: of seven offshore wind projects in the running, with a total capacity of up to 8.4 gigawatts, SSE owns or co-owns four, accounting for up to 5.1 gigawatts.
Times 30th May 2019 read more »
Labour has urged the Scottish Government to back its call to a French energy giant for construction contracts for a £2 billion wind farm to go to Scotland rather than overseas. Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said he backs the campaign for EDF Energy to build turbine jackets for its Firth of Forth wind farm at BiFab’s yards in Fife. Canadian firm DF Barnes acquired BiFab’s three yards – at Arnish on Lewis and Burntisland and Methil in Fife – last year in a Scottish Government-backed rescue package, amid fears they would close for good. Since the buyout, the firm has not secured any offshore wind contracts and wants to ensure developers stick to commitments in UK government contracts on proportions of work to carried out in Scotland. Leading a debate in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Leonard said: “It will be nothing short of a betrayal if the work on EDF’s offshore wind farm worth up to £2bn located just 10 miles off the Fife coast, if that work is sent around the world to Indonesia. “This is work that has the potential to create 1,000 green jobs for Fife, fulfilling the promise to the hundreds of the former BiFab workers, skilled workers, who stand ready to work. For EDF to sent those jobs elsewhere would not only be a betrayal of those workers, it would be a betrayal of an entire community and a betrayal too of Scotland’s commitments on climate change.”
Scotsman 30th May 2019 read more »
Herald 29th May 2019 read more »
Dundee Courier 29th May 2019 read more »
It will be a bitter irony for the staff of the mothballed BiFab plants in Methil, Burntisland and Arnish if a £2 billion windfarm planned to be built off the coast of Fife ends up providing work for people on the other side of the world, rather than them.
Scotsman 30th May 2019 read more »
The news that hundreds of manufacturing jobs are to be created in Spain to build the Kincardine Floating Offshore Wind Farm has been described as “galling” by a Scottish workers union.
Energy Voice 30th May 2019 read more »