Keynote speakers praised and challenged the renewables sector at the recent Global Offshore Wind conference in Manchester, hosted by RenewableUK. Paul Wheelhouse, the new Energy Minister for Scotland, said at the event that the scale of ambitions in the renewable sector is an important factor. He also said “Scotland has the potential to be at the forefront in all stages of offshore renewable energy”.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP noted that “what is important is the size and boldness of our ambitions”. As evidence of this, he highlighted the fact that the Scottish Government has granted consent for the world’s largest floating offshore wind project, the Statoil Hywind development off the coast of Peterhead, describing it as “a hugely exciting project in terms of electricity generation and technology innovation”.
He added: “With this project, and others, keen to locate in Scottish waters, momentum is building around the development of floating wind technology which could enable not just Scotland but other parts of the UK to secure even more clean energy from offshore wind as we move into deeper water in the future”.
He also cited the acquisition of the 7 megawatt Levenmouth test turbine in Fife by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult as a unique Research and Development facility, predicting that “it will help lay the foundations for Scotland to take advantage of opportunities within the sector in the long term, and strengthen our offshore wind investment proposition”.
Mr Wheelhouse highlighted the importance of providing a long term vision for the renewables industry, to bring certainty and confidence to developers and investors. He also acknowledged the need to generate power at the lowest cost to protect consumers.
He told delegates that the Scottish Government is committed to working with the UK Government to deliver “the strongest partnership possible to secure a thriving and equitable energy sector in Scotland – and offshore wind is a sector where I believe we can do that”.