In expectation of a government U-turn on funding for wind power infrastructure, ScottishPower has launched preparations for a significant expansion of onshore wind turbine projects throughout Scotland.
The massive six power supplier’s renewable energy arm has already looked at nearly 100 sites for a new wind farm generation, using a smaller number of more powerful wind turbines to derive clean electricity. Most of the locations are in Scotland, but the company still looks at Ireland’s sites.
Scottish Power demands the onshore generation block of the Conservative Party is cast aside in the next parliament because of the growing need for cheap, clean energy to enable the UK to meet its climate objectives.
Lindsay McQuade, ScottishPower Renewables ‘ chief executive, said she expects the next government to match the UK’s legislative climate goals ‘ ambition with assistance for the production of renewable energy.
The official climate advisers of the government, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said the UK will have to produce at least 1,000 MW of onshore wind each year for the next three decades if it wants to accomplish its goal of creating a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. Apart from building offshore wind farms at four times the current rate, this constant implementation is mandatory.
McQuade said that this meant that creators of renewable energy need to start saving now to hope to reach a target. She said that Scottish Power has “an energy pipeline throughout the UK, especially in Scotland, where there is an amazing natural resource.”
“Scottish Power is building an innovative onshore renewable energy infrastructure that can generate innovation, create jobs and power our societies as efficiently as possible –if the net-zero pledge is to be a fact, I expect government funding to suit it,” she said.
The Tory Party is under stress to overturn its government support block for new onshore wind farms, set up in 2015 by former Prime Minister David Cameron.
The clampdown prohibits onshore wind projects from bidding for support contracts, prompting the deployment of new onshore wind energy to slip to the bottom level since 2011 by almost 80 per cent last year.
The CCC has cautioned that without government-supported contracts, the UK is unlikely to be able to establish enough renewable energy projects. Also, ventures that are “tax-free” will require a policy arrangement to help offset financial risk and improve efficiency, the committee said.
The Labor Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party, and SNP have all voiced support for re-establishing onshore wind funding, and data has revealed that Tory voters still favour it strongly.
A summer poll for the Conservative Environment Network found 74 per cent of people who voted Conservative in the last onshore wind farms campaign support. The survey indicates that only a quarter of Tory voters were in favour of fracking, and the government called for an amicable resolution in mining in Britain within months.
At the moment, Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith said: “Our people want us to do more to address climate change.