As promised in their Response to the RO Consultation published on 13 September 2012, the Scottish Government issued a Supplementary Consultation on 5 October 2012, focusing mainly on changes to biomass and solar.

Biomass

The first of the Scottish Government’s proposals is the introduction of a 10MW installed capacity ceiling for wood-fuelled dedicated biomass generating stations.  Ministers believe there are areas of Scottish woodlands which are not currently fully utilised or managed, and the ability to supply biomass electricity plants may prove an incentive to do so.  Such stations above 10MW will only qualify for ROCs during any period where they are accredited as a good quality CHP station.  Responses are invited by 16 November 2012 for this proposal.

The second proposal from this Consultation is the introduction of additional mechanisms for biomass power aimed at ensuring value-for-money and affordability.  This mirrors the UK Government’s proposals which were published on 7 September 2012.  The consultation period for this proposal runs until 16 November 2012.

Another of the Scottish Government’s proposals again replicates the UK Government’s position and is the expanded sustainability criteria for solid biomass and biogas, which shall take effect from October 2013.  There is to be a requirement for power and CHP generators of 1MWe capacity and above to meet the sustainability criteria to receive support under the RO Scotland for solid biomass and biogas electricity from October 2013, and to provide a statement of independent verification.  In addition, an expansion of the set of sustainability criteria for solid biomass and biogas from October 2013 shall include sustainable forest management and tighter limits on carbon emissions, the full details of which can be accessed via the link at the top of this page.  The period for responses for this proposal is longer than other areas under the Consultation, as this matter has not been consulted on before, and will be open until 11 January 2013.

Solar

The Scottish Government agrees with DECC’s findings that the cost of solar PV has reduced considerably and, as such, proposes that the RO rates, as in the rest of the UK, should be reduced further than the original consultation had suggested.  This Consultation reproduces the UK Government’s proposal of a continuing reduction in levels for the remainder of the RO period: to 1.5 ROCs in 2013/14; 1.3 ROCs in 2014/15; 1.1 ROCs in 2015/16; and 0.9 ROCs in 2016/17.  However, it does ask for any evidence on whether Scotland should take a different approach to that of the UK Government and the consultation on this is open until 16 November 2012.

Sub 5MW

Following a similar announcement by the UK Government on 2 October 2012, the Scottish Government has confirmed that it will retain the current arrangements for generators between 50kW to 5MW.  These projects will not be excluded from the RO and will still have the option to choose between the RO or Feed-in-Tariff Scheme.

Innovative Offshore Wind

Whilst September’s Response document suggested a consultation regarding the introduction of a new band for innovative offshore wind generation in deep waters off the Scottish coast would be issued, this was not included in this Consultation paper. The Consultation did however confirm that “work on this is underway” and will be dealt with in a separate consultation which they aim to publish “as soon as possible”.  So perhaps developers will have some clarity on this issue in the coming weeks.