Deep in the heart of the northern Scotland, an hour or so’s hike from a village called Laggan, lies a new chapter in the history of onshore wind in the UK. The 39 turbines at Glenshero Wind Farm, if approved, will provide 168MW of new clean power capacity. What’s different about the site? The investor. SIMEC Energy, part of steel mogul Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, is investing £158m in the project to power its aluminium smelter plant in Fort William and steel plant in Motherwell. Sure, there’s nothing new about businesses procuring their own onshore wind sites. Take a tour of the UK and you’ll find corporately-funded wind turbines powering everything from car production to potato chopping. The difference for GFG is that they don’t just understand the opportunity onshore wind presents to produce low-cost energy but, as a big player in the supply chain for wind power structures, they also see the benefits of investment in onshore for the UK economy. GFG Alliance’s is a unique integrated business model, across energy, metals, manufacturing and engineering; and there are other new investors and models moving into onshore wind. It’s one of the key topics for the industry at the Onshore Wind 2018 conference in Edinburgh on November 27th. The Chief Executive of SIMEC, Jay Hambro, joined RenewableUK at our recent Business for Onshore Wind reception in Westminster. At its heart, the event was a celebration of those businesses who’ve invested in corporate Power Purchase Agreements. But as with any event about onshore, the conversation quickly turned to how to make the benefits of onshore wind more widespread. In “the nation of shopkeepers”, how does a shopkeeper finance a large-scale onshore wind site to lower their energy bills? For that matter, how does your average family? The reality is, the easiest way for them to benefit is for the government to support new onshore wind farms, through their power auctions. The problem is, they’ve stopped running them.
Business Green 7th Nov 2018 read more »