The third order will cover wind, small hydro, waste to energy and biomass projects. In addition, a limited capacity is to be available to small wind projects and wave power schemes. Brian Wilson, Scotland's industry minister, hopes this will encourage community based projects.
The new order -- to run from early 1999 -- will oblige utilities ScottishPower and Hydro-Electric to contract with successful bidders for up to 15 years. According to Wilson, SRO-3 is the culmination of the government's present programme of renewables support in Scotland. Its replacement will be decided in the UK-wide review of renewables policy.
Ted Leeming of the Scottish branch of the BWEA welcomes the announcement. "We would hope that enough good wind projects come forward so that the Scottish Office feels that a larger amount of capacity can be made available for wind than in SRO-2," he says. He refers to the BWEA's disappointment earlier this year at wind's poor allocation of contracted capacity under the previous SRO order.
He is also pleased to see a special tranche for small wind projects included for the first time. The BWEA has been pressing for separate provision for small wind schemes in Scotland along the lines of the NFFO small wind band.