Figures compiled by industry trade body, Scottish Renewables
Offshore renewable energy projects in Scottish waters have added £164.5 million to the Scottish economy to date, an industry survey suggests.
Green energy trade association Scottish Renewables said it arrived at the figure from a survey of its members who were asked to tally up their total investment in Scotland to date.
Scottish Renewables said the investment figure represents all contracts awarded by developers with Scottish companies in advance of any consents being awarded to their projects.
Scottish Renewables said last year alone around £65 million was invested in offshore renewable energy projects.
Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager for offshore renewables at Scottish Renewables, said: "This level of investment, made in advance of their projects gaining consents, shows the considerable level of confidence developers have in Scotland's offshore wind sector.
"Most of this current investment has been made in research, such as environmental surveys, technical engineering surveys and project demonstration.
"However, this flow of private finance is also generating huge opportunities for the supply chain, and once consents for projects are granted this will both motivate new entrants and strengthen those existing companies who are already reaping the benefit of diversifying into this emerging sector."
Last September, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced plans to increase subsidies to offshore wind developments in deeper waters.
This followed an announcement last July subsidies for onshore wind projects would be reduced by 10 per cent.
Most recent estimates suggest electricity suppliers submitting Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROC) to the regulator Ofgem get a subsidy of £42 per ROC for every megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced.
Figures produced by the UK Government show the buyout price – the payment avoided by a supplier for presenting ROCs to Ofgem, plus the portion of the buyout fund redistributed to suppliers who presented ROCs – for 2011 to 2012 was £42.07.
Offshore wind farms receive two Renewables Obligation (RO) certificates per megawatt hour (MWh) produced compared to one RO per MWh for onshore wind power.
According to estimates compiled by EnergyShare, a typical family home will use approximately three to four megawatt hours of electricity per year.
The UK Government policy guide on ROC states: “It is assumed that suppliers pass the cost of compliance with the Renewables Obligation (RO) on to consumers through their energy bills”.
In 2011 the cost of RO to the average household electricity bill was up to 3.4 per cent, and is expected to rise to up to 8.8 per cent by 2020 and then reduce to around 1.7 per cent by 2030.
For business users, RO was estimated at 3.7 per cent in 2011, rising to 7.4 per cent in 2020 and falling to 1.6 per cent in 2030.
But for “energy-intensive users” – based on consumption rates of 100,000 MWh – RO was estimated at 4.8 per cent of bills in 2011, rising to up to 10 per cent in 2020 and falling to 2.9 per cent by 2030.
Scottish Renewables said there was a marked upturn in planning applications for large scale offshore wind development in Scotland last year for projects representing more than 4GW (gigawatts) of potential installed capacity – enough to power three million homes.
Scottish Renewables' investment figures are published in Offshore Wind: Investing in Scotland, ahead of Scotland's largest offshore wind conference and exhibition in Aberdeen this week.
Andy McDonald, renewables director at Scottish Enterprise, said: "These latest figures underline the progress made to date in getting initial projects off the ground and creating opportunities for Scottish businesses entering the offshore wind supply chain.
"We and our partners have been working hard to create the optimum conditions for investors and Scottish business alike by developing the business environment and supporting the development of a strong supply chain.
"The business infrastructure and strength of the supply chain are critically important in helping building confidence for the longer term to ensure investment and employment levels grow further as this new industry becomes firmly established as a key sector driving economic growth and environmental gains for Scotland."
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing welcomed the latest investment figures from Scottish Renewables.
He said: “Offshore wind is an exciting emerging energy sector, still in its infancy but with great potential to transform how we power modern economies while reducing harmful emissions from electricity generation.
“The Scottish Government has moved quickly to work with the energy industry and ensure local communities are equipped to seize the huge employment and investment opportunities ahead.
“I'm delighted with the early success of the offshore wind sector and determined that we use all the levers available to us to maximise Scotland's role in this global endeavour.”