BT has agreed a deal with EDF energy to purchase all of the energy required for its Scottish operations for 20 years from a new wind farm development in the Scottish Borders. They will purchase 50% of the electricity produced by the 48 turbine Fallow Rig scheme north of the town of Lauder.
BT is a key consumer of electricity in Scotland, using around 170 Gigawatt hours per year and according to director Brendan Dick this deal secures long term price certainty for the company also stating that they were keen to secure its energy requirements in an “environmentally responsible way.”
Mr Dick said: “At BT we use the power of communications to make a better world.
“We’re as committed to reducing our own carbon emissions as we are to providing products and services that help everyone live within the planet’s resources.
“We have reduced carbon emissions from our operations by 25.5% globally during 2013/14.
“Our deal with Fallago Rig reinforces our commitment to make a positive contribution to society and the environment,” he added.
“It’s also a huge vote of confidence in Scottish renewable energy.”
The deal was also welcomed by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.
He said: “It is great news for Scotland and the environment that a company the size of BT is taking a local and sustainable approach to sourcing its electricity in Scotland from renewable and low carbon sources.
“With EDF Energy and BT now sharing 100% of the energy produced by Fallago Rig, it also secures generation at the site for the long-term future and shows the importance of Scottish renewable energy to Scottish-based businesses and their customers.”
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks also welcomed the move as “good news”.
“If Scotland is to meet its climate change targets and decarbonise its power sector then we need to see more big companies follow BT’s example and opt for 100% renewable electricity,” he said.
“Better still, we’d like to see companies build and own their own wind turbines or solar farms.
“Doing so would create thousands of jobs and more quickly enable Scotland to reduce its reliance on polluting fossil fuels.”
Fallago Rig is one of the largest onshore wind farms in the UK. EDF Energy Renewables own a stake in the wind farm and will continue to manage the site by providing operations, maintenance services and asset management.
Businesses are now more than ever aiming to be carbon neutral so a deal like this should not come as a surprise although the scale of it is bigger than anything we have seen before in Scotland. We believe that this type of agreement will become more commonplace as more businesses look to show their green credentials.
This is positive for Scotland, for renewable energy, and for the planet.
There is also good news from the Crown Estate which has recently published two reports confirming that the UK offshore wind power sector is on course to double its capacity by 2020 to 10GW or more.
At the Global Offshore Wind conference 2014 the Crown Estate released the reports showing that progress made by the UK offshore wind sector means that it looks set to provide around 10 percent of the country’s electricity demand by 2020.
The main report highlighted the excellent level of continued growth within the sector while the second report ‘Sharing lessons learned and good practice in offshore transmission’ set out a route to cost reduction which will help unlock the sector’s potential.
Speaking at the conference UK energy minister Ed Davey said “The UK is the number one country in the world for offshore wind, supporting green jobs and growth as well as strengthening our energy security. We have already attracted over £30 billion worth of investment in renewable technologies since 2010. Our ambitious electricity market reforms provide investors with the long-term certainty they need.”
Head of Offshore Wind at The Crown Estate Huub den Rooijen, added that there have already been a number of significant milestones in 2014 for UK offshore wind development including the announcement of a total of £750 million of industry investment. The ‘Offshore Wind Operational Report 2014’ has also found that generation from offshore wind reached its highest level ever of 11.5TWh in 2013, representing 3.3 per cent of UK electricity demand or enough to power 2.7 million homes.
The report also includes updates on community engagement activities, measuring and understanding windiness, transmission and sustainability measures.
‘Sharing lessons learned and good practice in offshore transmission’ looks at a number of actions supported by the Crown Estate designed to help reduce costs and risk associated with developing the UK’s offshore renewable energy sector. The report outlines how the sector can take a more structured approach to the way in which knowledge is shared, including a proposed ‘knowledge hub’ for information sharing.
At ILI (Renewable Energy) we are about onshore wind, it is where our expertise lies and where we have achieved success. We believe however in a strong renewable energy mix and we appreciate that in Scotland we are fortunate that our environment provides us with the resources for various renewable energy solutions. It is encouraging to see these being utilised positively and believe we can continue to progress as the world strives to meet clean energy demands.