Rising gas prices make Scottish offshore wind power essential

Rising gas prices highlight the need to ramp up Scottish offshore wind and hydrogen, the energy secretary will later say.

Michael Matheson will later present the need for “a more consistent and stable form of energy supply” at the Scottish Renewables Offshore Wind Conference in Glasgow.

UK and European gas prices have risen to record highs in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which consultancy Rystad Energy said is “approaching the limits of affordability in Western Europe”.

He is expected to say: “I am acutely aware that families and households across Scotland are currently facing rising energy costs alongside high inflation.

“That’s why we need a more consistent and stable form of energy supply. The current highly unpredictable nature of gas and oil prices reinforces the need to accelerate the development of alternative energy sources.”

He is expected to highlight that Scotland is being “unfairly penalized” under transmission fee laws – something the UK government is already urging to address as developers seek fair access to grid connections.

Mr Matheson will explain in his keynote speech that “almost 100%” of Scotland’s electricity needs come from renewable sources and that the Scottish Government is focused on reducing overall energy needs and accelerating the uptake of renewable energy.

He is also expected to discuss the “bright future” for the energy sector in Scotland, including a “revived North Sea” driven by offshore wind and a broader net-zero energy system.

In January, Crown Estate Scotland announced contracts for the ScotWind auction, resulting in a huge project pipeline of almost 25 gigawatts.

He will say: “The latest result of the ScotWind leasing round was a tremendous vote of confidence in Scotland’s growing offshore renewable energy sector. The level of ambition shown by the market recognizes the seriousness of Scotland’s commitment to achieving our net zero targets and sustainable economic growth.

“By far the world’s largest commercial round for floating offshore wind, ScotWind is breaking new ground by bringing large-scale GW-scale floating wind technology to the map.”

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