Last month I hosted the Annual Scottish renewables Parliamentary Reception in Holyrood. Renewables are now the biggest source of power in Scotland, ahead of nuclear, coal or gas, generating the equivalent of 57.4% of our gross electricity consumption in 2015 with almost 8GW of capacity now installed.
Scotland’s renewable energy sector has grown rapidly in recent years, with estimates that the industry employs some 21,000 people in Scotland alone.
The sector has delivered around £1bn of capital investment each year over a number of successive years.
Communities across Scotland also benefit from more than £10 million pounds of ‘community benefit’ payments each year, and there are now in excess of 500MW of community and locally-owned renewables projects.
The Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth is estimated to be worth £680m to the national economy by the UK Government.
90 jobs will be created in the support and maintenance hub in Wick. with more needed to create the hub.
Nigg Energy Park has secured a multi-million pound contract to be used for the assembling of turbines for the Beatrice offshore wind farm from spring 2018.
Community benefit is giving local communities across Caithness a revenue stream to spend in their local area.
The 1.2 billion Caithness-Moray Transmission project is a large reinforcement of the transmission system in the far north of Scotland. It provides additional transmission capacity to export power from the expected increase in onshore renewable generation in the Caithness area, as well as new generation located on the Shetland and Orkney island
The economic impact shows that 217 people will be employed in the scheme. 144 of them in Caithness and Sutherland
So far worth 2.98 million to the economy (in terms of bed nights)
£100 million worth of work has been awarded to businesses in the North, many of which come from Caithness.
Meygen, the world leading tidal project in the Pentland Firth, has just been awarded £17.6m from the Horizon 202 programme for phase 1B. The funding will be used to design, build and operate a 6MW array of four turbines. The aim is to demonstrate the viability - both technically and commercially - of drilled foundation systems and larger diameter turbine rotors.
Construction of phase 1B - also known as Demotide or Project Stroma - is expected to begin later this year and first power is anticipated in 2018. It will be installed next to phase 1A of the MeyGen project – another 6MW array which produced its first power in November last year and was up to full speed by December.
HIE and Orkney Council have just agreed a £6.5 million funding package for a new research and innovation centre in Stromness aimed at supporting sectors including marine renewables. The funding is made up of HIE funding of £5.15m for the project, including £1.48million from the European Regional Development Fund.
And, in keeping with the season just passed - here we have some Christmas stats…
Scotland’s wind turbines have generated more electricity than the country used for a record four days in a row. Wind energy provided more electricity than Scotland used on 23, 24, 25 and 26 December.
The total amount of wind energy produced on Christmas Eve was also the highest ever - equivalent to the average daily electricity needs of over 6 million homes.
On Christmas Day 2016, wind turbines provided 153 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs.