Onshore windfarms in Scotland must be built bigger if the country is to move away from a dependency on oil and gas, the Greens have demanded.
The party has today shared a letter to the leaders of Scotland’s main political leaders from some of the leading companies involved in the renewables sector, which blames restrictive planning laws from allowing taller turbines to be constructed.
Energy giants ScottishPower, SSE and EDF are among those warning the country could be left behind much of Europe when it comes to harnessing the potential of onshore wind energy.
Despite numerous windfarms in the pipeline for development in the coming years, the Greens are concerned those typically built on the Scottish mainland are now too small to maximise energy capacity – with turbines around 160m tall, compared to around 170m on the continent.
Much of the powers regarding the energy sector are reserved to Westminster but the party believes the Scottish Government has the ability to loosen planning rules when it comes to renewables.
The SNP and the Scottish Greens are involved in discussions
Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “Scotland’s onshore wind industry has stagnated for years, but it is clear the new deal for onshore wind in the Scottish Greens manifesto has given the sector hope.
“Wind generates a lot of Scotland’s electricity already, but the game has changed, and if we are going to start the transition from oil and gas we need a big increase in capacity as heating and transport switches over to electric.
“Instead, archaic planning rules mean we are falling behind the rest of Europe as we are unable to install more efficient turbines that have become standard across the continent.
“Even without UK Government support, there is much the Scottish Government can do to support the industry to expand and create jobs, starting with the new planning framework.”
The letter sent to the party leaders states: “Even with the rising success of offshore wind globally, the majority of wind development in the world has been, and will continue to be, in onshore wind.”
It adds: “There may be a substantial pipeline of onshore wind projects in the planning system, but without a timely consenting process which also delivers commercially viable projects at scale using modern standard turbines, a significant proportion of this pipeline may not be constructed in time to ensure Scotland can keep on track with its pathway to Net Zero.
“This is the decade where substantial investment in renewables will be required to enable power decarbonisation and the energy transition to Net Zero to happen and an effective and efficient planning regime will be required to mobilise the necessary investment and delivery of constructed green generation.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Onshore wind is one of the most cost-effective forms of large-scale electricity generation and is vital to Scotland’s future energy mix as we transition to a net-zero economy.
“Provisional figures indicate that renewables provided the equivalent of 97% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2020, with onshore wind alone meeting the equivalent of 60% of that consumption.
“In order to become a net-zero economy, we will need considerably more onshore wind capacity, situated in the right locations, protecting our natural heritage and scenic landscapes while delivering the maximum economic benefit to Scotland and the communities in which it locates.
“As set out in our National Planning Framework (NPF4) position statement published November 2020, we expect the NPF4 to confirm our view that the Global Climate Emergency should be a material consideration in applications for appropriately located renewable energy developments. In the meantime, it is for decision makers to identify relevant material planning considerations on a case by case basis.”  https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/onshore-windfarms-scotland-must-taller-24333504?fbclid=IwAR03y8OCA-28vcjyMX1VavgdmYX9ui4uAIJSbz1id1H35I2F8Q0Rx01kjIw

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