A SUBSEA cable to export Scottish wind power to Norway will cost the country jobs and investment, the head of a renewables firm has claimed.

Regulator Ofgem has approved a licence for the construction of a 400-mile underwater power cable linking Scotland and Norway.

The £1.3 billion project will see wind power generated in Scotland sent to Eidfjord in Norway, with hydro energy from that country received in Boddam, Aberdeenshire.

Developers hope the link will be operational by 2022 with connections eventually developed to Iceland.

However, Rod Wood, managing director of Community Windpower, claims Westminster policy means “Scotland will lose out” on jobs and income because of the project – by buying in renewables from overseas instead of supporting the growth of the homegrown sector.

The comments come one day after chocolate giant Nestlé announced it will buy all of the energy produced by a new Community Windfarm development.

The 15-year deal will supply half of the corporation’s power needs for its UK operations from just nine turbines in Dumfries and Galloway.

Wood says the contract has provided certainty for his company after the removal of Westminster subsidies made banks wary and scared off investors. However, as his firm plans to build a wind power storage facility in a Scottish first, he says the subsea cable is a “step in the wrong direction” and will take investment out of the country.

Wood told The National: “It looks like we are going to be exporting all our industry to other countries. We will also export the job creation and the wealth creation. Scotland will be losing out and it is a big loss for Scotland plc.”

It has been argued that the scheme could help plug gaps in provision when Scottish renewables are running low, such as times of high demand or low wind.

However, Wood said: “It is a very expensive solution in terms of putting a subsea cable through the North Sea in a very aggressive environment. The real solution is looking at renewables storage.”

Wood’s plan involves installing lithium ion batteries at the under-construction Aikengall II wind farm in East Lothian.

At 19 turbines, the development is an extension of the existing Aikengall wind farm near Dunbar and will be capable of generating 60 megawatts of electricity. If approved, the storage plan will see lithium ion batteries – the same as those used by green car firm Tesla Motors – capable of holding 12mw housed in on-site containers.

The batteries will harness the power generated by the turbines at periods of low demand for use when more consumers reach for their kettles or when the blades stop spinning.

Wood said: “Twenty per cent of our capacity will be backed up by energy storage. It is very unusual – the first of its kind. At the moment we can only sell our power when the wind is blowing, but this will allow us to give continuous supply. It will also allow us to store power overnight when there is less demand for use when people wake up and there is a peak.

“Those peaks are what is driving the need for more nuclear, more gas and possibly more coal-fired plants, which is the wrong way of looking at it. We will do 72mg at full pelt.”

Although support for offshore windfarms continues, the renewables obligation which supported the fledgling onshore wind industry has now ended.

And Wood, who has called for Holyrood to gain powers over this area, says his firm may not be able to develop more sites without a policy change by Westminster.

However, he said: “There is a lot of uncertainty with financing and the banks are very nervous. That is a result of the UK Government decision to stop the renewables obligation.

“However, we have the funding for the storage as a trial project. If this is successful we’ll roll them out across our portfolio of eight sites.”