Government under fire for wind farm subsidy move

Written by Tom Freeman on 18 June 2015 in News

Wind subsidy end ‘risks £3bn investment’ says Scottish Renewables, and could lead to a judicial review

The UK Government’s decision to close onshore wind farm subsidy scheme a year early has come under fire from the renewables industry and environmental campaigners.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of industry body Scottish Renewables said the move was “bad for jobs, bad for investment and can only hinder Scotland and the UK’s efforts to meet binding climate change targets”.

Scottish Renewables believes this decision could put around two gigawatts of onshore wind projects in Scotland at risk. These projects could provide the equivalent electricity demand of 1.23 million Scottish homes and significantly improve the country's energy security, while bringing around £3bn pounds of investment.

“Ending the Renewables Obligation, which projects already in the planning system are reliant upon, is neither fair nor reasonable and would effectively amount to a retrospective act from the Government," said Stuart. The Scottish Government has warned this could lead to a judicial review.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said the decision damages Scotland’s clean energy ambitions.

"This decision is especially contradictory coming in the week that the European Commission warned that the UK is set to miss its 2020 renewables target.   The UK Government must now set out plans to restore confidence to a nervous industry," he said.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie, a member of Holyrood's economy and energy committee, said the Government had made the decision to “appease the irrational climate change deniers on its backbenches”.

"To do so while committing to decades of funding for nuclear energy, giving the green light to new fossil fuel extraction and dragging their feet on demand management shows that their energy policy is stuck in the 20th century and failing to grasp the challenges and opportunities facing us today," he said.

Meanwhile an anti-wind farm campaigner told Holyrood via twitter: “There will be partying in the Glens. People will be able to live in peace, and environment protected from ruthless wind developers.”

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