Alex Salmond has set out the level of support for the renewables industry in Scotland – despite a delay in an announcement from the UK.
The First Minister has written to Ed Davey, the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, confirming the level of subsidy for the onshore wind sector will be cut by 10 per cent. The Scottish Government intends to provide support for onshore wind generation at a level of 0.9 Renewable Obligation Certificates in line with a consultation on the issue. The UK has recently put back its response on the review.
In a letter to Davey, Salmond said: “Across Europe and around the world, governments, citizens and industry are working to develop a low carbon economy, including big increases in clean energy generation – protecting the environment and creating jobs in the process.
“The binding targets to which the UK and Scottish Governments have each signed up mean that renewables capacity and investment in Scotland is in the interest of communities across these islands.”
The Renewables Obligation creates a market for renewable power by placing an obligation on all licensed electricity suppliers to source an increasing percentage of their sales to customers from eligible renewable technologies. It is administered by Ofgem, who issue renewable generators with Renewable Obligation Certificates for each megawatt hour of eligible renewable electricity generated.
Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said: “The Scottish Government has shown very welcome leadership on an issue which was beginning to threaten our renewables revolution. The change in the level of support reflects the fact that the cost of onshore wind is coming down, but is set at a level that will still maintain investor confidence.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives have urged ministers to ease the burden placed on councils from wind farm applications.
Tory Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith said: “The SNP is presiding over a chaotic local planning system which, in many cases, takes little heed of local democracy.
“Council planning departments are already under severe pressure to deal with these applications, and even the councils who do have preferred areas of development are receiving numerous speculative applications for places they have already stated are not suitable.
“It is clear that we need radical reform of the planning system. The SNP’s drive to push through windfarm developments at the same cost as planning applications for small businesses and local people can only add to the problems faced by councils.”