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Windfarm developer faced with uncertainty over turbine plans after UK Government fund scrapped

Windfarm developer faced with uncertainty over turbine plans after UK Government fund scrapped

A windfarm developer has claimed a lack of government funding has put its plans on hold.

Mountwest 838 Limited was granted permission to build three turbines on land at Mains of Cainbrogie, Oldmeldrum, in 2016.

However the developer claims that just before Aberdeenshire Council approved the project, a “sudden” and “unexpected” decision was taken to scrap a UK Government funding stream.

The feed-in-tariff was designed to support small-scale onshore renewable projects, but was scrapped at the end of last month.

Now Mountwest has applied to the council to extend the duration of their planning permission in an effort to find alternative funding.

A supporting statement, written by civil engineering firm Case Consultancy on behalf of the developer, states that the firm did not expect the tariff fund to “substantially” change.

It adds: “The commercial viability of the project at that time was entirely dependent on the ability of the developer to secure the anticipated feed-in-tariff.”

Last night, Scottish Renewables has said the scrapping of the fund has led to “enormous uncertainty” for smaller firms.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager, said: “The feed-in-tariff scheme has been tremendously important in supporting small-scale renewables, community-owned energy and the smarter, cleaner energy system which we need to fight climate change.

“Small-scale renewable energy has produced enormous benefits for the UK: it’s allowed homeowners and communities to take control of their energy supply, reducing their bills and carbon emissions, as well as enabling rural businesses to invest and grow.

“The closure of the scheme at the end of last month means, at best, a period of enormous uncertainty for the companies that install these projects and for the people who work for them, as well as for the customers they serve.”

A spokesman for the UK Government’s department for business, energy and industrial strategy said: “We’re committed to ensuring small-scale generators receive payment for clean energy exported to the grid, recently consulting on a smart export guarantee (SEG) to follow on from the successful Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme, outstripped expectations and generated enough electricity for two million homes.

“SEG could go even further and incentivise the use of electric vehicles and batteries to store and sell electricity to the grid when demand is high, cutting consumer bills and providing the local grid with more clean, green energy.

“While suppliers do have a period of time to put the systems in place to deliver the SEG, we would expect some suppliers to introduce tariffs well before the final deadline.”

The developer could not be reached for comment.

 

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