Scottish renewables at risk

4th August 2016


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  • Mitigation ,
  • Generation ,
  • Renewable

Author

Kim Poh Low

Recent changes in UK government policy have created uncertainty that could threaten the Scottish renewables industry's prospects for further growth, with the early closure of the scheme to support onshore wind likely to cost Scotland up to £3bn in lost investment and put 5,400 jobs at risk.

The warning is from MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee. In a report, they said the strong recent growth in the Scottish renewables sector, which employs 21,000 people and produces almost 30% of the UK’s renewable electricity, was at risk.

Changes to subsidies for technologies that generate renewable electricity and uncertainty about future support have affected the confidence of investors in supporting the deployment of new generating capacity.

The committee was particularly troubled about the removal of the Renewables Obligation (RO) for onshore wind, which MPs said had been taken without consulting the industry or Scottish government.

‘Early closure of the RO for solar and onshore wind, cutting support through feed-in-tariffs, and delaying the next round of contracts for difference have weakened investor confidence in the renewables sector, and put at risk opportunities for future growth,’ said Pete Wishart, SNP MP and committee chair.

The MPs urged the UK government to clarify what future support would be available to the renewables sector, and to set out how it would work with the Scottish government to develop a clear, long-term plan so that renewable energy could remain a central part of the energy mix.

Mindful that renewable electricity generated in rural areas and the Scottish islands tends to be costly to transmit to urban centres, the committee called on Ofgem to look into levelling connection costs across the UK.


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