Christian Egal, chief executive of EDF Energy Renewables (EDF EN), who will be in Edinburgh this week to speak at an industry conference, has been pushing more of its investment northwards in the past year and he said that trend is likely to continue as the UK moves to a system of guaranteed prices for different forms of energy. Already almost half of its wind generating capacity is north of the Border.
He said: “In a more competitive climate, with the need to deliver competitive energy, I would say that Scottish projects will be top of the list. The windiest projects will go through. There are some challenges in Scotland with regards to the grid connection, which is also part of the final price. It’s a matter of timing but that is going to be delivered.”
EDF EN is waiting to build a 130 megawatt (MW) development on the Isle of Lewis, but work can’t start until an underwater cable has been installed to export the electricity to the mainland.
Egal was speaking to Scotland on Sunday ahead of the Scottish Renewables annual conference, where he will be on a panel of industry leaders discussing threats to development and the action that needs to be taken.
He said getting planning permission for sites remains a major stumbling block on both sides of the Border, but Scotland’s greater availability of space means it is slightly easier for wind farms to get the go ahead.
There’s a limit to how much can be built, but Egal believes development still has a long way to go.
He cites Germany, where he never expected to see more than 10,000MW installed, which now has around 30,000MW of wind generating capacity.
Scotland has about 4,300 MW of onshore wind, with almost as much consented but not yet built. Scottish Renewables also expects huge offshore wind development.