Crucial projects on hold

‘Wrong-headed’ subsidy cut leaves wind farm plans idle

Claire Mack

Claire Mack: ‘heartbreaking’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Almost 50 wind farms which could power the equivalent of 850,000 homes risk losing vital planning permission unless a political ban on their access to the energy market is lifted, new research has shown.

The new study comes as the UK’s only wind turbine tower manufacturer, CS Wind, says market conditions mean it may need to cut three-quarters of its Argyll workforce.

The wind farms identified in the Scottish Renewables study would increase Scotland’s renewable energy capacity by almost 15%. But most have not been built because of a UK Government block on onshore wind power.

Other issues affecting development include the speed at which alterations to projects – vital to improve their economics – are held up in Scotland’s planning system, as well as increased fees for planning services, business rates and aviation issues.

Planning permission for the 47 projects, which stretch from Shetland to Dumfriesshire, was obtained during the period of the UK Government’s onshore wind moratorium – and will begin to expire from next spring.

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, which has carried out the research, said: “It is heart-breaking to see jobs being lost at CS Wind in Argyll as the projects which could have provided the company with work are unable to proceed in large part because of the UK Government’s politically-motivated intransigence.

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