Onshore sites in Scotland risk losing permits

Roughly 1.6GW of ready to build onshore wind capacity is facing expiration of building permits as the UK's continued "ban" bites.

The Kype Muir project in Scotland won CfD support in the UK's first auction before the UK government banned onshore wind's entrance to the subsidy

According to local trade organisation Scottish Renewables, the developers of the 47 projects are "desperate" to build the projects, but need access to the energy market.

Currently, onshore wind projects are unable to bid in to the UK’s contracts for difference support scheme.

The projects’ permits are due to start expiring in spring 2020. Scottish Renewables also lamented the time it takes for alterations to permits – to allow use of the latest technology at the projects – to be approved, as well as increased fees, and aviation issues.

But the core of the anger was reserved for the UK’s Conservative government.

The UK’s "politically-motivated intransigence" of new onshore wind capacity has resulted in a number of job losses, most recently at Scottish turbine tower manufacturer CS Wind.

"New onshore wind farms are the cheapest form of energy generation, and therefore the cheapest way we have of tackling the climate emergency," said Scottish Renewables chief executive Claire Mack.

"Developers are desperate to build these projects, which alone would increase Scotland’s renewable energy capacity by almost 15% and deliver vital jobs for companies like CS Wind.

"Onshore wind’s popularity is at an all-time high, with 79% of people supporting the use of the technology.

"Scottish Renewables polling earlier this year (2019) showed that almost seven in ten Scots living in rural areas support the use of onshore wind energy, so the case is clear-cut: the UK Government’s opposition to onshore wind as wrongheaded today as it was when it curtailed this cheap, popular technology’s access to the energy market in 2015.

"It is imperative that that ban is lifted as a matter of urgency and that issues which have been identified with Scotland’s planning system are addressed so these projects can deliver economic and social benefits for Scotland, as well as helping meet our stretching climate targets," Mack added.

The projects are located across Scotland, with the majority of the capacity (630MW) located in Strathclyde, west Scotland.