Funding blow for offshore scots wind farm project

AN energy firm has pledged to press ahead with developing one of the world’s largest offshore windfarms off the Scottish coast despite a major setback of missing out on a Government subsidy.

Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (Morl) failed to secure a UK government subsidiary deal. Picture: Getty
Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (Morl) failed to secure a UK government subsidiary deal. Picture: Getty

Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (Morl) has failed to secure a deal on a UK government subsidy for its development of almost 200 turbines overlooking Caithness.

This would have given a guaranteed price at which Morl could sell electricity produced for the first 15 years of the renewable energy scheme.

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Morl plans to build three wind farms called Telford, Stevenson and MacColl with up to 62 turbines on each site.

Dan Finch, managing director of Moray Offshore Renewables said: “We will continue developing MORL as an innovative, highly competitive project in anticipation of early announcement of adequate Government support in future funding rounds this summer.”

A 448 megawatt offshore wind farm, Neart na Gaoithe, in the Firth of Forth did secure the subsidy, along with 10 onshore wind farms in the Highlands, Strathclyde, Moray and Dumfries and Galloway.

The contracts were offered by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, given subsidies to 27 renewable electricity projects which together could power 1.4million homes

In a separate project, Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited plans to install a further 110 turbines in the Outer Moray Firth. Beatrice was awarded Government subsidy last year.

The Scottish government gave the Morl and Beatrice projects the go-ahead in March last year.

If constructed, the combined scheme would have more turbines than the 175-turbine London Array.

It would also be the third largest in the world after the planned South Korea Electric Power scheme off the south-west coast of the Korean peninsula, and the Blekinge project in the Baltic Sea off Sweden.

A meteorological mast was installed at the location of the Morl project in September last year to measures wind conditions.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “These results are very disappointing.

“Granting a contract to only one Scottish offshore windfarm, and only one other in the rest of the UK, shows how little interest the current UK government has in cleaning up our energy supply.

“Climate change and energy security concerns mean that Scotland and the UK need to make a rapid transition away from fossil fuels to clean, green energy.

“Scotland has huge potential for power from offshore wind farms and this technology is key in reducing carbon emissions.”