Friday, 10 July 2021 09:07

Major onshore wind summit warns UK Government not to turn its back on industry

Major onshore wind summit warns UK Government not to turn back on industry

A major summit of the Scottish onshore wind industry has met in Glasgow, following the UK Government’s decision to end the Renewables Obligation early.

Last month it was announced that the subsidies for onshore wind farms would stop a year early, in 2016 rather than 2017. Industry body Scottish Renewables says the move could cost up to £3billion of investment in Scotland and threaten as many as 5,000 jobs.

More than 200 representatives of businesses and communities met at the summit, which offered the Scottish Government an opportunity to meet and listen to the industry about how they will be affected by the closure of the scheme.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “This decision by the UK Government can only be described as anti-business. The impacts could spread right across Scotland and the wider supply chain, including ports and harbours, transmission and distribution, consultancy, communities and the civil engineering sector.

“All of this is will come at great personal and economic cost to our businesses and people. I’ve heard from many successful businesses who are at the forefront of renewables technology who are now being forced to look at making redundancies as a result of these changes. I also heard from investors both in Scotland and abroad who are wanting to invest in this industry but these are currently being stalled because of the uncertainty this is causing.

“Delegates this morning spoke about the damage this will cause the rural economy – many of the shops and business that are vital to these communities.

“Over the next few weeks DECC will be seeking the views of those affected and I strongly encourage anyone with an interest to respond on this to ensure our concerns are heard.”

Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables, added: “The industry is urging the UK Government not to abandon the onshore wind sector in Scotland by pulling the rug from under it a year earlier than planned.

“The impact of this decision will be felt more harshly in Scotland because the biggest proportion of projects being developed in the UK is here.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has said there will be “grace periods,” meaning wind farms that have invested significant sums may still be able to go ahead.

Jenny added: “The details around exactly how a company may receive a grace period remains unclear. The lack of clarity is extremely damaging for investors but we hope to continue our talks with officials on how this will work in practice.”

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