Airvolution, a subsidiary of Irish utility ESB, will work exclusively on Statkraft’s behalf to identify, explore and bring forward opportunities to secure Scottish development rights, the two companies said.
Up to a dozen Scottish projects ranging between 30MW and 50MW were being considered, a Statkraft spokesman told Windpower Monthly, but details of these sites were currently confidential.
More detailed information would be published “in due course”, the spokesman added.
Statkraft also said it would be building a portfolio in Wales, though the Airvolution partnership was limited to its Scottish portfolio.
David Flood, managing director of Statkraft UK, said: “Our focus on Scotland demonstrates our belief in the fundamental attractiveness of the onshore wind industry in Scotland, and its ability to deliver low-cost, low carbon generation while contributing substantially to the Scottish economy.”
Currently, the company only owns the 66.7MW Berry Burn and 36.3MW Andershaw projects in Scotland, but has helped develop several others, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.
Flood argues the experience of developing its Andershaw wind farm, which uses 11 of Vestas’ V117-3.3MW turbines, will help the company develop similar sites in the future.
“Next generation turbine technology can facilitate further cost reductions, and increased tip heights will play a critical role in this,” he argued.
The partnership’s announcement comes on the same day that the UK government released its Clean Growth Strategy, which sets out 50 policies for delivering a cleaner energy system.
Wind projects on remote Scottish islands have been cleared to apply for support in the next contract for difference (CfD) auction in spring 2019, but there was no clarity on whether this provision would be extended to all onshore projects in future tenders.
In a statement announcing the partnership with Airvolution, Statkraft remained optimistic about onshore wind being allowed to compete in future auctions.
“We believe the future of onshore wind in the UK to be very positive, and fully expect the UK government to grasp the opportunity for further onshore wind development through future CfD auctions,” said Flood.
“This can deliver known volumes of the most cost-effective generation technology available in suitable locations, while giving investors certainty and facilitating low cost of capital.”
Statkraft sold its 50% stake in the 860MW Triton Knoll project to Innogy this week as it divests its offshore wind assets.
When the company announced this strategy in December, it said it would instead focus on “renewables like hydropower, onshore wind solar, district heating and other new renewable energy technologies”.
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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly