Scottish Power is eyeing a significant expansion for its onshore wind farm developments all across Scotland, to supplement the government’s growing interest in wind power projects.
The company’s renewable energy arm is considering more than 100 sites for its new-generation wind farms. It intends to use less (but significantly more powerful) wind turbines to generate clean energy. Most of these sites are found in Scotland, with a few sites located in Ireland.
The Conservative Party’s onshore generation block might just be cast aside next parliament in favour of cheaper, clean electricity. It is aimed at achieving the UK Government’s target of fully decarbonising the economy.
Scottish Power Renewables CEO Lindsay McQuade expects the next government to meet the UK’s climate goals and provide support for renewable energy growth.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised the UK government to build a minimum of 1,000MW of onshore wind generation each year for thirty years, so that it can accomplish the 2050 target of net-zero emission and full decarbonisation of the economy. The UK will also need four times more offshore wind projects than she currently has.
In hopes of meeting the target, McQuade believes that renewable energy suppliers and developers must plan and act now. She cited Scottish Power’s pipeline of energy projects in Scotland and the UK as fitting examples.
The Conservative party is being pressured to reverse its earlier stance on onshore windfarms, that then prime minister David Cameron set in place in 2015. The block prevents onshore wind developers from competing for support contracts. It also caused an 80% fall in the rollout of new onshore windfarm capacity, the lowest since 2011.
The CCC cautioned that the UK might not meet its target to develop renewable energy projects if it does not grant government-backed contracts. The committee also affirmed that subsidy-free projects still require government agreements to decrease costs and investment risks.
McQuade stated that the decarbonisation of the UK entails cross-party commitment for a viable route-to-market for onshore windfarms, which is the cheapest new-generation clean energy. She also believes that agreement to meet a net-zero emission target rapidly could grant a clean and sustainable work-life balance for the people.
The Liberal Democrats, SNP, Green Party and Labour Party have all voiced their support for onshore wind. Several Tory supporters are also palpably behind the movement as well.
A Conservative Environment Network survey conducted last summer revealed that 74% of those who voted Conservative in the elections support onshore wind. The data also showed that only one-third of Tory voters are in favour of fracking, which led the government to halt the activity across England.
Then MP for Richmond Park Zac Goldsmith stated at the time that constituents are looking to leaders for climate change discussions and plans to take action against it. He sees the next election as being a fight regarding critical issues where there are varied opinions.
However, Goldsmith notes that topics like onshore windfarms are straightforward, and parties need not cede ground.
On top of onshore windfarms, Sottish Power is also aiming to add more sources for renewable energy. The company plans to cover the ground next to the turbines with photovoltaic batteries and panels.
The Big Six supplier has sought permission to establish its first solar electricity projects underneath existing wind farms in Lancashire, Coldham, and Cornwall.
Scottish Power hopes to add solar panels in most of the future onshore wind projects to be located across Scotland and Ireland. It is yet to be determined whether the specific locations and conditions on the ground are suitable for solar panel installations.
Keith Anderson, Scottish Power chief executive, stated that the project is aimed at contributing to the government’s net-zero target in 2050. He expressed the company’s plan to get the most out of every potential resource for all the clean energy projects that are underway.
Adding 10MW solar panels and an additional 10MW of energy storage may double a small windfarm’s green energy capacity.
Anderson said that the combination of clean energy technologies could be the new norm in eighteen months.