RenewableUK statement on SSE announcement

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Onshore wind turbines have produced major risks and encouraged offshore developments, but these have also produced some major risks and the only factor maintaining development was very generous involuntary subsidies by taxpayers. Reality is now setting in and forcing a rethink of how far renewable energy should form part of the energy mix and what type of devices should provide that energy. Ed.

Reacting to today’s announcement by SSE that it has decided to maintain investment in Beatrice offshore wind farm, although it has decided not to proceed in the long-term with its stakes in 4 other offshore wind projects (Galloper (50% ownership stake), Seagreen (50%), Forewind (25%) and Islay (100%), RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said:

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“This announcement demonstrates very clearly the need for the Government to provide greater confidence for investors in its long-term support for Britain’s offshore wind industry.

“If we could rely on more certainty and less risk, firm commitment to the huge financial investments involved would secure all the economic benefits of energy independence in a shorter timescale.

“Only yesterday we had the good news that Siemens and Associated British Ports will be creating at least 1,000 jobs in East Yorkshire, revitalising the Alexandra Dock at Green Port Hull and manufacturing offshore wind turbine blades. However, if we want to see more manufacturers basing themselves in the UK, they need to know that there will be a long-term market up to 2030 and beyond.

“As the SSE announcement makes clear there are some aspects of policy which are troubling developers, so policy makers should take notice. The lack of clarity about the Government’s support for offshore wind past 2020 is in stark contrast to its support for nuclear where they’ve set out a clear package of financial support.

“Although it’s disappointing that one of SSE’s offshore wind projects won’t be going ahead, there are other major stakeholders involved in the other three projects. Changes to the Investment partners in such huge projects is not uncommon, as we saw in December, when DONG Energy acquired Centrica’s stake in Race Bank offshore wind farm, and earlier when Masdar bought Shell’s share in the London Array, now operational and acclaimed as the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

“Overall we still have a busy and dynamic offshore sector. The UK has 22 offshore wind farms currently operational, 5 under construction and 9 with planning consent. We’ve installed 3,653MW (megawatts) of wind energy in UK waters – enough to power more than two and a half million homes and cement our world leadership position in this technology. Almost 15,000MW more is currently in the pipeline”.

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