SNP urges next UK Government to back 'green energy deal'
Nicola Sturgeon said the UK is running out of time to “get its act together” on climate change
Nicola Sturgeon is urging the UK Government to back a set of measures which she claims will bring about a “transformational shift” in green energy production.
They include the launching of a tidal energy industrial strategy, allowing onshore windfarms to compete for a government support scheme and scrapping proposals to quadruple VAT on home solar panels.
Speaking ahead of an SNP general election campaign event in Edinburgh where she plans to announce a ‘green energy deal’, Sturgeon said the UK is running out of time to “get its act together” on climate change.
Sturgeon accused the UK Government of spending years on a “wasted obsession” with nuclear power and claimed its approach to renewable energy has so-far been “short sighted”.
One of the key recommendations the SNP is making is on allowing onshore wind projects to compete for the ‘contracts for difference’ scheme.
The scheme is the UK Government’s mechanism for supporting low-carbon electricity generation, by protecting developers from the ups and downs of the energy market.
Onshore wind has been excluded from the scheme since 2015.
But islands were allowed to bid for the contracts from 2018, with four islands onshore windfarms gaining support in the latest funding round, announced in September.
The SNP is recommending the scheme ensures more benefit to local suppliers.
The measures also include setting a timescale for the delivery of interconnectors to the northern and western isles, reform to “punitive” transmission charges and support for a diesel car scrappage scheme.
The SNP said that these reforms would give green energy projects the long-term certainty needed to be successful.
Sturgeon said: "At this election, Scotland can elect a strong team of SNP MPs to demand the radical action needed to tackle the climate emergency and secure the future of our green energy industry.
"Scotland is already a world-leader on tackling the climate crisis and delivering green energy. By contrast, Westminster has wasted years obsessing over nuclear power and a complete lack of vision and ambition over the energy technologies of the future.
“Put bluntly, there is no more time to waste – it’s time for Westminster to get its act together.
“It's time for the UK government to match the SNP's ambition – with a green energy deal which will bring about a transformational shift toward the energy schemes of the future.
"Climate change is without doubt the single biggest challenge we face. In Scotland, the SNP has declared a climate emergency and introduced the toughest legal targets in the world to ensure net zero emissions by 2045. The next UK government must stop falling behind and follow Scotland's lead with radical action to secure our future.
"This is the most crucial general election in living memory. A vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit, put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands, and secure a better future for our environment."
But the Scottish Greens criticised the SNP's approach towards climate change, saying that the party "cannnot claim the moral high ground".
Scottish Greens Co-Leader Patrick Harvie MSP said: “If the First Minister’s world leading rhetoric was matched by her government’s actions Scotland would be well on its way to playing our part in tackling the climate emergency.
"Unfortunately the SNP, just like Johnson’s Tories, want to extract every last drop of oil from the north sea. The SNP cannot claim the moral high ground, only a month after letting BP and Heathrow airport sponsor their party conference.
“The Scottish Greens are the only party that has a plan to tackle this crisis; the Scottish Green New Deal, which would tackle climate breakdown and create thousands of long lasting, quality, unionised jobs.
"A vote for the Scottish Greens at the General Election is a vote to demand climate action.”