Scotland and Wales call for better engagement on renewables

12th August 2015


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  • Generation ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Devolved government

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IEMA

Cuts to renewables subsidies have not been properly discussed with the Scottish and Welsh ministers, according to a letter from both administrations to the UK government.

The letter, from Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing and Welsh natural resources minister Carl Sargeant, highlights in particular the disproportionate impacts the cuts will have on community renewables projects.

The ministers pour doubt on statements by officials at the energy and climate department (Decc) that they are unable to assess the likely impact of restricting support for onshore wind under the renewables obligation (RO) and the cancellation of pre-accreditation for the Feed in Tariff (FiT).

For instance, the impact assessment for ending the RO for onshore wind early states that there is little economic difference between continuing the current level of support and for ending it, the ministers say. However, the benefit of the cuts accrues in the shorter term while the costs accrue in the longer term, they note.

Both ministers say they are very concerned that they were not involved in this decision, since funding the long-term costs will fall on future administrations, and managing the economic and climate impacts lie within the remits of the devolved governments.

The ministers complain that under proposed changes to the accreditation process for the FiT, developers will not know what tariff they will receive when they begin to develop a project.

This is likely to stall the community energy sector beyond projects that have been pre-accredited by 22 July, with a knock-on effect on local jobs and the supply chain, the letter states.

While both ministers say they recognise that the cost of developments of renewables projects is generally falling, they argue that the lack of discussion and advance notice of the changes will have an impact that is "more disruptive than necessary".

"We both see that the future direction for energy is one of local generation and supply, based on renewable sources, and smart storage and local grid management, with significant local benefit. The current proposals will significantly damage the prospects for this future if the local ownership and benefits of projects are not considered within the support regime," Ewing and Sargeant write.

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