Scottish Renewables Responds to HM Treasury Announcement
Responding to announcement from HM Treasury on future levels of financial support for the renewable energy industry, Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:
“There is a huge debate on the impact of energy bills and the renewables industry is focused on getting costs down as government seeks to reduce financial support to the sector.
“However, the sharper than expected cut to onshore wind will present a real challenge to developers, and could well mean that some projects don’t go ahead, slowing down progress towards our 2020 renewables and climate change targets.
“It will also present a serious challenge to many communities seeking to take forward their own developments, and means that only the most competitive and productive sites will proceed.
“It’s important we remember that onshore wind is the cheapest renewable electricity source that is being deployed at scale and is expected to play a major role in us meeting our ambitious 2020 target of generating the equivalent of 100% of our electricity from renewable sources. It’s also the technology that has driven the most investment into this country and has been vital in providing the necessary financial stepping stone investors need in order to move towards building offshore wind, wave and tidal farms.”
Mr Stuart highlighted that the change to offshore wind did not guarantee that projects around Scotland will go ahead:
“We’re pleased that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has taken on board the evidence that offshore wind support cannot be cut as quickly as they had proposed.
“However, we are still at the earliest stages of developing offshore wind technology and scaling up the industry, and even if projects get consent there is no guarantee that schemes will proceed with the level of financial support outlined.”
Mr Stuart also welcomed changes to proposals for biomass and hydro:
He added: “Biomass can make an significant contribution to both our renewable electricity and renewable heat targets. The framework published today contains a number of positive changes, but there are still some important questions to be answered before we know that government has done enough to secure further expansion of the sector.
“There is still potential for more hydro in Scotland, and we are pleased that DECC has taken on board that the remaining sites are complex and often far from existing grid connections making it difficult to cut costs as previously proposed.”
He concluded by saying that more time was required to assess the overall impact of the changes:
“We now of course have to discuss and assess with our members exactly what this means for the future development of the renewable energy sector in Scotland. What is clear though is that government will only support the most competitive schemes and projects as we look to reduce costs and the level of support to the sector over years to come.”
Press release, December 5, 2013; Image: scottishrenewables