Scotland to Increase Financial Support for Tidal Energy

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing today launched a consultation on plans to remove financial support for large-scale biomass electricity generators and increase it for tidal energy.

The consultation on the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) (ROS) raises the possibility of a cap on the size of biomass plant which would receive support. Smaller, more efficient biomass projects would continue to receive support, but large-scale electricity only stations, above a certain generating capacity, would no longer be eligible for support under the ROS. The consultation requests views on the level at which such a cap might be set.

The consultation also proposes increasing the number of renewable certificates (called ROCs) allocated to tidal energy generation from three to five per Megawatt hour.

The RO requires electricity suppliers to provide an increasing share of power from renewable sources. Different numbers of ROCs are awarded to different types of renewable energy generation. Suppliers can buy and then submit these ROCs to show that they have met their obligation.

 Mr Ewing said:

“Scotland’s renewable resources are unparalleled. The changes proposed in this consultation will help make sure we continue to make the most of this valuable potential.

“While the Scottish Government supports the deployment of woody biomass in heat-only or combined heat and power plants, UK ambitions for large-scale electricity only woody biomass plants are an inefficient use of a finite resource. We have serious concerns around the sustainability of supply. If proposed levels of imports are not matched with forecast demand or become more difficult to access, there is the danger that energy generators will find it easier to access their feedstocks from domestic wood processing industries’ well-established wood supply chains.

“By re-examining and proposing to reduce this subsidy we are sending a clear message about the best use of biomass and reducing the potential detrimental impacts on Scotland’s timber industries and the thousands of rural jobs they support.

“We have a quarter of Europe’s tidal stream, and the increase in support for this technology will encourage energy firms to capitalise on the enormous potential this presents.”

The ROS operates in tandem with a Renewables Obligation covering England and Wales. Changes to both Obligations are being consulted upon concurrently.


Source: scotland, October 24, 2011