CECA: Remote onshore wind investment will drive growth and cut carbon

RenewablesInvestment in onshore wind projects could benefit Scotland’s island economies by up to £725 million over the next 25 years, civils contractors have said.

The UK government announced last week that it intends to allow wind projects on the remote islands of Scotland to compete in the next competitive auction for less established renewable technologies (Contracts for Difference) to be held in Spring 2019.

It has also announced that up to £557 million of support will be available for future Contracts for Difference auctions.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said the move will protect rural jobs and cutting carbon emissions.

Director of external affairs at CECA, Marie-Claude Hemming, said: “We welcome the UK Government’s announcement of new funding for renewables in these areas.

“The UK is facing a future energy gap, and by our projections demand for electricity is likely to outpace supply by over 40 per cent by 2026 if action is not taken now.

“CECA has long argued that the best means of keeping the lights on is to invest in a mixed portfolio of electricity generation.

“In order for the UK to meet its carbon commitments, we must invest in renewables, and one of the most promising areas we can do this is in the remote isles of the UK, including the Western Isles, Orkney, and Shetland.

“Investment in wind projects in these areas will not only produce much-needed clean energy, but will drive economic growth, unlock job opportunities, and help build and maintain a local, natural, and non-polluting resource for rural communities.”

Grahame Barn, chief executive of CECA Scotland, said: “By our estimates there is over £300m worth of civil engineering activity per annum in the Scottish renewables sector alone.

“This represents over ten per cent of the total Scottish civil engineering workload, in a sector that directly employs more than 3,000 people, and creates many more jobs in the supply chain.

“The development of non-mainland onshore wind projects will play a key role in delivering economic growth, directly benefitting Scotland’s island communities, and attracting billions of pounds of investment in the coming years.

“But while this is very excellent news for contractors, we still need to action to address the significant challenges relating to grid connection into the GB network. With onshore wind estimated to cost up to nine times higher to transmit than electricity generated on the mainland, we look forward to hearing what further support will be pledged by the UK Government to address this continuing challenge.”

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