Next week, we will meet at Scottish Renewables’ annual conference from 1-3 September – albeit virtually, which is definitely part of the new normal!
There’s no doubt we will be speaking about COVID 19. None of us could ever have predicted what 2020 would bring and the global pandemic has made things incredibly tough for everyone including our industry. We’ve all been busy working to protect our people as much as we can, finding new ways of doing our jobs and continuing to develop, build, and operate our projects safely. But I believe some good has and will continue to come from all of this.
We have learned to make important decisions very quickly and we have made so many positive changes beyond what we thought was ever possible. That’s everything from making sure those who can work from home have the right equipment to bringing in social distancing measure on our sites or organising virtual exhibitions and consultations.
As you know work on operational and construction sites has been restricted because of COVID 19 and we have been working closely with our contractors to follow the Scottish Government’s guidelines to make sure we keep everyone safe. To that end, it has been really encouraging to get the industry collaborating to share their experience and get some consistency.
I am pleased to share that EDF Renewables has continued to make progress on Neart na Gaoithe, our 450 MW offshore wind farm in the Firth of Forth where offshore construction has just begun. We have also been busy finishing our 11MW Burnfoot East site in Clackmannanshire with the turbines now in place.
It’s been hugely important to us to reach out to the communities around our sites and reassure them about any construction work during the pandemic and to offer help through our community funds at Fallago Rig and Longpark in the Borders and at Burnfoot in Clackmannanshire.
Now, as it looks like we are (hopefully) coming out of the other side of the pandemic and the number of cases of COVID is very low in Scotland, my thoughts turn to a ‘green recovery’.
The goal remains to build a net zero future through electricity. The EDF Group strategy includes plans to double our renewable capacity across the world to 50GW in the next ten years. In the UK we have a 4 GW pipeline of projects we want to build.
Renewables remains an attractive sector for investors with a stable cash flow and it is incredibly competitive but we need clear signs from Government that it will support businesses like ours.
The CfD auction next year will be a great opportunity to speed up the building of green projects. But we also need to see policy which encourages low carbon flexibility which is what will be required in the UK system to achieve a net zero grid.
With all that has already been achieved, we can be confident we will be able to overcome the challenges and make good of the opportunities ahead. All of this is only possible because of you, the people in our industry, and your incredible commitment.