Assurance sought over windfarm subsidies

wind farm Hebrides  TodayEnergy Minister Fergus Ewing has called on the UK Government to fulfil the commitment made in the Queen’s Speech and consult with the Scottish Government before any decisions are taken on windfarm subsidies.

Mr Ewing said that the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change must also consult with the energy industry given the importance of the pipeline of planned investment in helping ensure energy security and keep the lights on across the UK at a time of increasingly tight margins between electricity demand and supply.

Mr Ewing has written to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, in light of recent reports that the UK Government will shortly announce the end of onshore subsidies.

In his letter Mr Ewing said:

“I welcome the commitment in the Queen’s Speech that there will be consultation with the Devolved Administrations on changes to subsidies for onshore wind farms and I look forward to that consultation. However I am concerned about recent statements coming from your Department relating to proposed changes in support for renewable energy.

“Any lack of clarity has the potential to stall a very substantial pipeline of investment in the UK and Scotland and dent the UK and Scotland’s reputation with developers and investors.

“We have not received any information from your Department on the possible options you are considering or what analysis has been done to assess the impact on projects in Scotland. Given the importance of the renewables sector to Scotland and prior commitments to consult, I would appreciate your reassurance that you will not make any changes to the subsidy arrangements for onshore wind without agreement from Scottish Ministers.

“Furthermore and given the obvious disquiet within the sector I strongly urge that your Department engage with businesses involved in the sector and their trade bodies – both to give them reassurance that any changes to the subsidy regime are being taken forward in a considered and planned way, but also to ensure that your Department retains good faith with these businesses and organisations who are integral to the future energy security of both the UK and Scotland. “

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