Emissions, Renewables

UK Energy Minister launches consultations at opening of Artfield Fell wind farm

27 July 2005 – The vast potential of renewable energy from the Scottish islands and off Britain’s coastlines comes nearer to reality today as UK Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks publishes two consultations on connecting remote sources of renewable energy to the grid.

Speaking at the official opening of Scottish and Southern Energy’s 20 MW wind development at Artfield Fell in Dumfries and Galloway, Malcolm will say:

“Over the past year, the percentage of electricity generated from renewables has grown at a record rate and new wind developments such as the fifteen turbines here near Stranraer look set to continue that trend. I have been very impressed at the renewable energy industry’s commitment to our target of 10 per cent by 2010 and am delighted to be making my first wind farm visit here at Artfield Fell.

“But there’s still much work to be done and the two consultations published today will have a major impact on how the sector develops in future. Limiting the charges paid to the National Grid by renewables generators on the Scottish Islands is vital if their vast potential is to be realized. Given the right incentives, the islands could contribute more than a percentage point towards our 10 per cent target, that’s enough to power three quarters of a million households, more than Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen combined.

“This, and separate proposals for connecting the UK’s offshore wind resource to the grid, are hugely important if Scotland and the UK as a whole are to maintain the drive towards a low carbon economy. I hope that all interested parties will feed their views into these consultations.”

The DTI is today publishing a public consultation document that has significant implications for the development of renewable energy on the Scottish islands. The document outlines the proposals for giving renewable developers on the Scottish islands of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles a discount on the charges they will have to pay to use the high voltage transmission grid. The Government included the power to do this in the Energy Act 2004 (section 185).

These proposals will help to support the industry and unlock the vast potential of the Scottish islands for renewable development. These islands are not connected to the transmission network yet but all three have great potential for renewable development. The consultation document will also present the results of the study commissioned by the DTI from independent consultants on the impact of transmission charges on renewable generation in the North of Scotland.

Published separately today is a joint DTI/Ofgem consultation document on ‘Regulation of Offshore Electricity Transmission’.