A green energy trade body has warned Scottish floating wind farm projects are at risk unless the UK Government makes a “simple, minor change”.
Under current rules, floating wind power developers will not qualify for subsidies unless their projects start generating electricity by October.
Two proposed floating wind farms, one of which would be built off Caithness, are unlikely to be ready in time, leaving them without sufficient funding.
RenewableUK has called for the UK Government to move the deadline back to April 2020, giving companies an extra 18 months to get turbines up and running.
The organisation is worried about the futures of 2B Energy’s project in the Firth of Forth and Dounreay Tri’s demonstrator, which would be set up off the coast of Caithness.
Dounreay Tri was cast into doubt when the company formed for the project by Sweden’s Hexicon went into administration.
The project is currently on hold, though Hexicon has said there is “strong commitment of the project’s key suppliers to re-start the project and commissioning is planned latest Q1 2020”.
A recently filed progress report from administrators indicates Hexicon retained the licences and consents for the construction and operation of the turbines.
The report from joint administrators at French Duncan also said Global Energy Group, previously awarded the construction contract for the project, had bought the steel which would form the base of the demonstrator.
A third project, the Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm, south-east of Aberdeen, is expected to meet the deadline.
Between them, the three projects would generate £425million worth of investment and £200million worth of supply chain contracts.
However, it is understood the UK Government has no plans to extend the deadline.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith said the projects would bring huge economic benefits to Scotland and the UK.
Mr Smith said: “We need a swift, positive decision from the UK Government on support for these projects, so that we can secure the lead in a global export market worth billions.
“All that’s needed to make this happen is a simple, minor change, extending the accreditation deadline for support – just for these particular projects – from October 2018 to April 2020.
“Any nation keen to develop a forward-looking industrial strategy would not wish to forego such an opportunity.”
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said on his Twitter account: “If powers were in hands of Scottish Ministers the flexibility asked for would be provided.”
The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The UK is a global leader in renewables, including offshore wind with more support available than any other country in the world.”
The world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind, started producing off Peterhead last year.
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