Scotland outreach to Canada yields wind energy investment

Scotland has one of the greener economies in the world, sidelining oil and natural gas in favor of renewables.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Oct. 17, 2017 at 6:04 AM
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Oct. 17 (UPI) -- An $8.6 million investment commitment through 2019 could lead to the development of as much as 10 new wind projects for Scotland, joint venture partners said.

Canadian renewable energy developer Boralex and Britain's Infinergy committed through a joint venture agreed to invest in a network of onshore wind farms with a combined design capacity of 325 megawatts. Loosely speaking, that's enough to meet the energy demands of 150,000 average households.

"Facing declining state subsidies for wind energy all around Europe , the choice to focus on Scotland , knowing it possesses the most favorable wind conditions in Europe , made it very logical both strategically and tactically," the partners said in a joint statement.

Trade group Scottish Renewables estimates the wind power capacity in the country is about two and half times larger than it was a decade ago. Onshore wind capacity accounts for the largest share of the gains, with more than 72 percent installed capacity.

The wind energy commitment came after Scottish Economy Secretary Keith Brown toured North America to promote trade. Before he left Sunday, the secretary said the British decision to leave the European Union prompted the Scottish government to ensure its trading partners it was "open for business, and is a welcoming country with an international outlook."

Scottish exports to Canada are worth $550 million (USD) per year. Boralex and Infinergy said they were committed to a collective $8.6 million in investments toward wind energy development in Scotland.

Scotland has one of the more robust low-carbon programs in the world. The Scottish government last year ruled that natural gas derived from underground coal deposits would have no place in a greening economy. The government's decision followed a report from the University of Glasgow that found the coal gasification industry had a history of incidents related to pollution and is out of step with Scotland's efforts to lower its emissions without an offset like carbon capture and storage in place.

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