The Hilton Wind Farm proposed by AMEC Developments has suffered a series of blows to their proposals for 6x100m industrial turbines between Lochgelly and Kelty, next to Lochore Meadows.
Energy secretary Amber Rudd announced that the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), a subsidy paid through energy bills, are being removed from new onshore wind developments.
MSP Murdo Fraser provided further information on the removal of the lucrative subsidy, which has been identified in pushing more people into fuel poverty;
“The Secretary of State at DECC, Amber Rudd, clarified the position in the House of Commons in a statement on Monday. Only those projects with both planning consent, and a grid connection, as of the date of her statement, 18th June 2015, will be eligible for subsidies in the future.”
Representatives for AMEC announced at a public meeting for the Lochgelly Community Council that the project is no longer ‘financially viable’, however they are still proceeding with their proposals.
Further to this, at the public display, held by AMEC at the Lochgelly Centre on the 16th July 2015, representatives of the development stated that they are looking into CfDs (Contracts for Difference) to make the project commercially viable.
The UK Government describes CfDs as;
Essentially, renewable generators will be paid the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at contract time.
Amber Rudd was recently questioned as to whether she expected the Government to provide contracts for onshore wind developments under CfDs, she responded;
“I wouldn’t, no.”
Without ROCs and the possibility that AMEC will not qualify for CfDs, the proposed development will not be financially viable.
This is in part due to high development costs, and also due to the intermittent energy produced which cannot provide a financially stable income stream for the developers without some form of lucrative subsidy.
Despite the wind farm increasingly becoming less financially viable, the developers are still intending to progress the application through the planning stage, with the application expected to be submitted by the end of August, which will still need to be fought so that planning permission is never obtained.