Scotland’s coalition government is pressing ahead with plans to boost onshore wind generation by as much as 12 GW this decade, adding to the 8.4 GW of turbines already spinning over the glens.
A draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement published on the eve of Glasgow’s CoP26 climate talks, confirms one of the terms in the co-operation agreement between the SNP and Scottish Green Party, hammered out after May’s elections.
The draft states that between 8 GW and 12 GW of new onshore capacity could result. At the higher end, as many as 17,000 jobs and nearly £ 28 billion in gross value added might be achieved.
The plan draws heavily on the Onshore Wind Prospectus produced this month by wind lobbyists RenewableUK.
Issues on which representations are now invited include community ownership, the visual impact of new parks, availability and varieties of finance, offtake agreements, skills uplift, and production of green hydrogen.
Holyrood’s document acknowledges the effectiveness to date of Contract-for-Difference tendering in securing investment. But it questions whether the method has sparked a ‘race-to-the-bottom’, particularly in in Scotland’s workforce and supply chains.
Visiting the Kype Muir wind farm in Strathaven, Michael Matheson, the coalition’s minister for Net Zero and Energy said:
“Our draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement outlines the huge potential for this technology, and assesses the significant economic opportunity of future deployment, particularly in light of our green recovery aspirations”.
Green Skills Minister Lorna Slater, one of two Scottish Greens in the Holyrood cabinet, added: “The Scottish government is committed to an economic recovery that is both green and fair. The growth of the onshore wind sector presents us with an opportunity to secure further good, green jobs.
“By acting now, we can set Scotland on a pathway to meeting our climate change targets in a way that supports a Just Transition and delivers opportunities for all.
The consultation ends on 21 January 2022. The draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement is on the Scottish Government website.