United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Path cleared for Scottish offshore projects

UK: A court in Scotland has refused the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' request to challenge a decision backing 2.3GW of offshore wind capacity.

Mainstream's Neart Na Gaiothe offshore wind project will be located off Scotland's east coast
Mainstream's Neart Na Gaiothe offshore wind project will be located off Scotland's east coast

The decision was made after the court overturned an appeal by the RSPB against the Scottish government's decision to approve the projects.

The RSPB had claimed the Scottish government failed to properly consider the environmental impact of the wind projects.

Mainstream Renewable Power, the developer behind the 450MW Neart Na Gaoithe, has welcomed the announcement and said it wishes to push on with the site.

"After more than two years and two court hearings, we hope that the RSPB acknowledges a fair hearing and allows us to get on with delivering the very significant benefits this project brings to the Scottish economy and its environment," said Mainstream's chief operating officer, Andy Kinsella.

"It will create more than 500 direct jobs during construction and over 100 direct permanent jobs once operational; £540 million will be directly invested in Scotland during the construction phase with a further £610 million during the operational phase.

"We are delighted with the decision and look forward to working constructively with the RSPB to take the wind farm into construction next year," he added.

The SDIC-owned 784MW Inch Cape, and the Seagreen joint venture's Alpha and Bravo projects totalling 1.05GW were also caught up in the court proceedings.

The RSPB has 28 days to decide whether to apply directly to the UK Supreme Court.

The court proceedings had put Mainstream's contract for difference (CfD) subsidy support with the UK government in jeopardy.

In March 2016, the Low Carbon Contracts Committee (LCCC) issued a notice terminating the deal, stating the project had missed milestones set out in the CfDs.

However, Mainstream disputed this, arguing it had entered arbitration with the LCCC prior to the notice because of the judicial reviews.

In March 2017, an arbitration tribunal backed Mainstream in its dispute with the LCCC over the removal of the CfD subsidy.

The LCCC is responsible to managing the UK's CfD process on behalf of the UK government.

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