Scotland to host emergency summit in fight to protect onshore wind sector

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 29 Jun 2015 10:53
Scotland battles for a fair deal for onshore wind industry

The Scottish Government is to convene an emergency summit early next month to discuss the impact of the UK Government’s decision to end onshore wind support.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will meet with key players in the renewables sector to hear the concerns of the industry which will inform in his ongoing discussions with Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, and other devolved administrations. Mr Ewing met Ms Rudd last week in London and invited her to Scotland to see for herself the impact this decision will have in Scotland.

This follows Mr Ewing meeting with the Inverness Chamber of Commerce and the renewables industry last week which was an opportunity listen to their concerns about the impact on both developers and the supply chain.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), announced recently its intention to close the Renewables Obligation (RO) for onshore wind from April 2017. This was met with outcry by the Scottish industry who claimed it ‘could cost £3 billion investment in Scotland.’

Mr Ewing said: “The Scottish Government strongly disagrees with this decision which was made without our consent and will have such a negative impact on a key sector of the Scottish economy. The proposals have a disproportionate impact on Scotland as around 70 per cent of onshore wind projects in the UK planning system are here.

“There are many communities and companies who have invested significant amounts of money in renewables scheme and have now found the goal posts have been move, putting crucial investment and jobs at risk. I am keen to listen to their concerns, understand the impact and continue to work together in making representations to the UK Government.

“UK ministers also urgently need to clarify the position regarding onshore wind projects already in the pipeline, and how many of them can expect to continue to receive investment during the grace period before funding is cut off.

“The most recent energy figures show renewables continue to go from strength to strength, with almost half of Scotland’s electricity use coming from renewables last year and wind delivering record amounts of power in the first three months of 2015. Scotland accounts for around a third of total UK renewables generation. This makes the recent decision by the UK Government to end the RO next year even more regrettable.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to the renewable sector and to achieving our target of 100 per cent of our electricity demand through renewables by 2020 and the onshore wind sector is a significant part of that.”

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The recent announcement to close the Renewables Obligation to onshore wind has caused a huge amount of disquiet within the industry, and threatens significant levels of investment, employment and renewable power generation.

“This is a key issue for everyone with an interest in renewable energy development in Scotland and the summit will be an important opportunity for our members to put over their questions, comments and concerns to the Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism as we seek to find a way to ensure the sustainable growth of our onshore wind industry.”



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