UK onshore wind farm ban could cost Scotland billions
The Scottish Affairs Committee has criticised the removal of the onshore wind subsidy by former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative government in a new report.
Scottish Renewables, a trade body, advised the committee that the premature closure of the Renewables Obligation to onshore wind will put 5400 jobs at risk and result in up to £3 billion in lost investment.
The report has said that Scottish views weren’t taken into consideration when Cameron’s government decided to end the subsidies for onshore wind.
“We have urged the Government to clarify the future support which will be available to the renewable sector, and set out how they will work with the Scottish Government to develop a clear, long-term plan that will allow renewable energy to remain a central part of the energy mix,” said Committee Chairman Pete Wishart.
MPs have also pressed Ofgem, the UK’s government regulator for gas and electricity, to look toward levelling connection costs nationwide to help renewable generators in remote areas.
Scotland is currently home to about 60 percent of the UK’s onshore wind capacity. The UK’s renewables market has been mired in uncertainty since the Department of Energy and Climate Change was abolished and its responsibilities passed onto a new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
“This change indicates a troubling shift in the Government’s priorities,” Wishart said. “I hope that the Government’s response to our report will go some way to allaying these fears."
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.