Call for UK to restore onshore wind subsidies

The UK should review its decision to ban onshore wind subsidies, a move that could cost Scotland as much as £3bn (€3.58bn) and torpedo its clean energy targets, MPs have said.

Scottish views were not considered when former prime minister David Cameron’s Conservative government said it would end new subsidies for the technology, according to a report issued yesterday by the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee.

Scotland currently hosts about 60% of the UK’s onshore wind capacity. It is the UK’s cheapest way to produce low-carbon electricity, according to analysts.

Scotland’s fast wind speeds and long coastlines have helped build up an industry that supports about 21,000 jobs and more than £1bn of annual investment, according to Scottish Renewables trade group.

“This is an important sector of Scotland’s economy, and also makes a vital contribution to meeting our commitments to tackle climate change,” committee chairman Pete Wishart said. 

“The sector’s future success relies on a supportive policy framework.”

Scotland wants to generate 100% of its energy from renewables by 2020 — a goal that probably will be missed without future support to wind energy, according to the report.

“We have urged the government to clarify the future support which will be available to the renewable sector, and set out how they will work with the Scottish government to develop a clear, long-term plan that will allow renewable energy to remain a central part of the energy mix,” Mr Wishart said.

A spokesman for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it remains committed to supporting the renewables industry in Scotland through a series of auctions for low-carbon technologies.


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