After all the bad news we have published today regarding the offshore wind industry, here is some good news.
Just a month after the UK government confirmed it would spend £60m updating the infrastructure at ports to enable bigger and better wind farms to be built, the Scottish government has gone one further and announced a similar £70m fund.
According to Scottish first minister Alex Salmond:
The offshore wind industry is seeking leadership and immediate support from government and the Scottish Government is determined to provide that, as we have done for the last three years. Today I am delighted to announce – and open for business – Scotland’s £70 million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund. The fund covers infrastructure relating to manufacturing and test/demonstration facilities.
I broke the story this morning that since 2003, energy companies had been forced to sign potentially damaging contracts if they wanted to lease a part of the seabed on which to build an offshore wind farm.
The terms of the lease stipulated that the Crown Estate, on the government’s request, could force them to terminate the lease, without compensation, if the plot was needed for oil and gas works.
Today, energy minister Charles Hendry has been defending the system to the FT, saying he expected oil and gas companies to find a way of getting on with the offshore wind industry.
“We would expect compensation [from the oil and gas companies], getting them to find a way to work together.”
The Falkland oilers fanclub aren’t giving up even though Desire Petroleum has suffered another setback.
On Tuesday, the company said it had been forced to plug and abandon the sidetrack well at the Rachel prospect because of technical issues.
The offshore wind industry was delighted last month when the government confirmed it would spend £60m to redevelop Britain’s port infrastructure.
As he announced the decision, David Cameron said:
I want us to be a world leader in offshore wind energy. We are making these investments so that major manufacturers will decide that this is the place they want to come and build their offshore wind turbines. This investment is good for jobs and growth, and good for ensuring we have clean energy.
But as offshore wind becomes a more prominent part of the UK’s energy mix, it suddenly finds itself in competition with giants from the oil and gas industry.