August 24, 2007

Browne recognises need for energy investors

Scottish Secretary Des Browne last night said the Government had a responsibility to encourage investors to get involved in windfarm projects.

The minister was in Aberdeen to learn about a groundbreaking renewables project off the Moray Firth.

The Beatrice Dolphin demonstrator project is a joint £45million venture between Talisman Energy (UK) and Scottish and Southern Energy which involves putting two massive turbines far out to sea to power the Beatrice oil field.

The turbines – one of which is currently operational – are supplied by REPower, a firm which produces the largest turbines in the world – as big as the London Eye.

If the demonstrator is judged a success, more of the turbines, which are the only type which can be built in deep water, could be positioned in the Moray Firth.

REPower says the project would be a major jobs boost for the area, as well as improving the environment and generating energy.

However, REPower boss Fritz Vahrenholt said firms were put off by the charges they faced to connect to the national grid.

Mr Browne said he was aware of the issue but did not want to comment further because there was a judicial review in progress.

Asked about the financial and legislative responsibilities he believed the Government had in relation to windfarm projects, he said: “I know now we have responsibilities in relation to licensing and development of facilities.

“We have responsibility in relation to the fiscal regime to encourage investment so investors will get their return for the money they lay out, and regulatory responsibility is there over all the environmental challenges.”

He said this regulation had to be done in such a way as to not deter investors.

He had been due to fly out to the Beatrice field yesterday, but fog made it impossible. Instead he received a briefing at the Talisman base in Aberdeen.

He added: “I think wind power has enormous potential. I believe we are the windiest country in the world, in the sense of the wind that blows, and that must give us an advantage over the countries that don’t have that resource.

“We need to find ways of exploiting that resource.”

Press and Journal

24 August 2007

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