Offshore Wind: Scotland

Energy and Climate Change – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th May 2016.

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Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport) 12:00 am, 12th May 2016

What steps she is taking to support the development of offshore wind energy generation in Scotland.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

The Government have announced up to £730 million of contracts for difference support for offshore wind and other renewables. The first auction later this year will offer £290 million, and I expect Scottish projects to bid. This is a huge opportunity for the UK supply chain, and I am doing everything I can to persuade developers to buy British.

Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)

The Government have cancelled the contract for difference for the Neart na Goithe wind farm off the east coast of Scotland. Without that wind farm, there will be no such projects at all in Scottish waters. Will the Minister tell us why the contract has been cancelled? Will the Government commit to redeploying the funds to another Scottish project?

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

It is not the Government who decide whether a delivery milestone is met; it is the Low Carbon Contracts Company that manages those contracts for difference. That cancellation was the result of the milestone delivery date not being met, and there are ongoing discussions about that. I recognise that the termination of a CFD is disappointing for all partners, but I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that there is quite a big project pipeline for Scottish offshore wind and I expect to see other projects coming forward at the next auction.

Photo of Martin Vickers Martin Vickers Conservative, Cleethorpes

There is a direct link, Mr Speaker. Clearly, developments in the industry in Scotland will have an impact on the success or otherwise of the development of the energy estuary, which is the Government’s ambition for the Humber. Will the Minister give us an update on how developments in Scotland might impact on the Humber?

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I commend my hon. Friend for both his tenacity and his command of the English language. Whether from Scottish projects or from projects in the Humber region, this project pipeline will benefit the UK supply pipeline enormously. That is what we really want. He will be aware of the ongoing east coast review, and I am talking with individual developers to try to ensure that we buy British wherever possible and use UK fabricators, and that the UK has the opportunity to get more of this valuable business, which has been a real success story for the UK.

Photo of Callum McCaig Callum McCaig Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Energy and Climate Change)

Scotland’s undoubted potential in offshore wind, and in renewables more generally, is being squandered by remote control from here in Westminster. When will the Department stop treating Scotland like an absentee landlord?

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I am unsure whether saying, “What rubbish,” is unparliamentary, but, frankly, that was absolute rubbish. There is no sense in which the UK Government treat Scotland as if we were an absentee landlord. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that 60% of the renewables obligation has gone to projects in Scotland, which has about 8% of the population. How on earth can he think that Scotland is somehow losing out? That is absolute nonsense.

Photo of Callum McCaig Callum McCaig Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Energy and Climate Change)

If we are not being run by remote control, will the Minister tell us how many times the Secretary of State has been to Scotland since the last election?

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I can tell the hon. Gentleman that I have been to Scotland a number of times.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I do not know the answer, but I can write to the hon. Gentleman. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is absolutely committed, as am I, to the success of not only wind and the renewables sector in Scotland, but, importantly, the oil and gas sector. The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the hours that she and I have spent in this Chamber desperately trying to get the Oil and Gas Authority sorted out through the Energy Bill, which he and his colleagues have tried to delay and scupper at every turn.