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by Sarah McIntosh, Managing Director, Muirhall Energy
16 November 2023
Associate feature: Landmark agreement will enable onshore wind in Scotland

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Associate feature: Landmark agreement will enable onshore wind in Scotland

With the second annual Holyrood Climate Action Summit being held this week at Dynamic Earth we will see again decision makers, government officials, industry members and environmental NGOs gathering to debate and discuss the delivery of our net zero future.  This has been a challenging 12 months where we have seen the catastrophic impacts of climate change - extreme heatwaves, drought and devastating flooding have affected millions and cost billions.   In the political sphere we have had to contend with the disappointing result for offshore wind in Allocation Round 5 of the Contract for Difference, the ineffective “reversal” of onshore wind restrictions in England, and the recent watering down of the UK Government’s commitment to net zero.  

Throughout these challenges, Scotland has proven its commitment to the delivery of a just transition to net zero time and time again.  From the publication of the Onshore Wind Policy Statement last December, through the consultation on the Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, the adoption of NPF4 in February and the signing of the Scottish Onshore Wind Sector Deal (SOWSD) in September, Scotland has set challenging decarbonisation ambitions and has been clear on the intention to deliver these.  As the largest independent Scottish renewable developer, Muirhall Energy is acutely aware of the contrast between this uniquely Scottish approach, and the negligence with which net zero delivery has been considered for the UK.

Muirhall Energy have played an integral role in the development of the SOWSD, through our membership of the G12 Group; consisting of organisations whose development pipeline will deliver the majority of the Scottish Government’s ambition to double the existing onshore wind fleet in Scotland by 2030. The SOWSD commits both industry and government to challenge current convention and to work together to build a better system for Scotland, where onshore wind development can be deployed quickly in appropriate and well-designed sites, with real consideration for our communities, for the principles of a just transition and in harmony with Scotland’s unique range of biodiversity.  Increasing onshore wind deployment will bring security to investors, create highly skilled jobs, empower communities through Community Investment Funds and will ensure that consumers benefit from one of the lowest cost forms of electricity generation at scale.

The Sector Deal lists a total of 63 ambitious and challenging commitments, but there are a few which are particularly aligned with Muirhall Energy’s core values:

● Communities:  Muirhall Energy believe that our host and neighbouring communities are our partners, and this relationship is not simply for the duration of the planning process, but for the 40-year lifetime of the development.  We offer an industry-leading £7,000 per MW annually in Community Investment Funds for our larger developments, exceeding the guidance principles of the Scottish Government, currently set at £5,000 per MW.  Collaboration across industry and aligning strategic investment with community priorities are already at the heart of Muirhall developments.

● Skills:   Muirhall Energy fully endorse the commitment to identifying skills gaps and providing apprenticeships, training opportunities and skilled jobs.  20GW of onshore wind in Scotland by 2030 will require considerable skilled workers to deliver, but the workers who will maintain these sites, who will find efficiencies and improve processes and who will discover and implement the next wave of renewable technologies are in school right now.  We must reach out to the workforce of the future and ensure they have the skills and confidence to fully realise their incredible potential.

Muirhall Energy have been proud to be part of the development of the Sector Deal, and stand ready to play our role in its delivery.

This article is sponsored by Muirhall Energy

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