September 22 (Renewables Now) - The Scottish government will accelerate approvals of larger new wind farms under the Onshore Wind Sector Deal signed between the industry and the government on Thursday.
As part of the deal, the government will aim to determine applications within a year when no public inquiry is required and two years with an inquiry, reducing the average determination time by 50%. It will do that by streamlining processes and improving the format of applications.
The deal will help increase Scotland's onshore wind capacity from the current 9.3 GW to the government's target of 20 GW by 2030. It was hailed as “a huge moment for the onshore wind industry in Scotland” by Scottish Renewables’ chief executive Claire Mack.
Other commitments in the agreement include companies engaging early with communities to agree a community benefits package and a commitment to support supply chains to reuse and refurbish parts.
“This deal also positions Scotland to become a world leader in decommissioning, remanufacturing and recycling of wind turbines and related assets, and I look forward to working with the industry to help make this happen,” said Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater.
RenewableUK said the Onshore Wind Sector Deal can serve as a blueprint for all of the UK. In England, there has been a de facto ban on onshore wind since 2015, which, the organisation said, “remains largely in place, despite the UK Government’s declaration earlier this month that it was lifting it.”
RenewableUK simultaneously released data showing that the UK’s onshore wind pipeline has increased by more than 1.5 GW in the last 12 months to reach 38.54 GW, with Scotland accounting for 78% of the projects. The pipeline includes projects at all stages, from operational to early development.
The Scottish onshore wind deal was signed by Claire Mack, Neil Gray, Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, Gillian Martin, Minister for Energy and the Environment, and Barry Carruthers, Chair of the G12/S5 Onshore Wind Sector Working Group. The signing took place at the Onshore Wind Conference in Edinburgh, hosted by Scottish Renewables and RenewableUK.