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by Liam Kirkaldy
24 September 2015
Tories are putting record renewable generation at risk, says Fergus Ewing

Tories are putting record renewable generation at risk, says Fergus Ewing

The UK Government is putting plans to decarbonise Scotland’s energy system at risk, according to Scottish Government energy minister Fergus Ewing.

While new figures show a record amount of Scotland’s electricity was generated from renewables in the first half of the year – with a rise of 13.5 per cent compared with 2014 – Ewing warned the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) decision to end the Renewable Obligation for onshore wind jeopardised future progress.

The figures demonstrate Scotland generated 4,832 GWh of renewable electricity in Q2 2015, a 37.3 per cent increase in renewable electricity from the same quarter in 2014.

Wind and output rose by 52.2 per cent, while hydro increased by 27 per cent.

Ewing said: “Scotland continues to make good progress on renewable electricity generation and annually we are now producing double the amount we did in 2006.

“Scotland has made great progress in increasing the amount of clean, green electricity in our energy mix. However we are very concerned that the damaging and premature cuts to support for renewable energy being driven through by the UK Government will hamper future progress.

“If they are going to pursue this policy there should be a sufficiently flexible grace period covering projects already in the planning system. This flexibility would ensure companies and communities are not penalised unfairly by the UK Government policy change where they have already invested.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Scotland’s renewables industry now supports some 20,000 jobs and helps us avoid over a million tonnes of carbon emissions every month.   

“While we need to see a change in attitudes towards onshore wind and solar at Westminster, there's still much that can be done here in Scotland.  As we head towards next year’s elections we look to all parties to continue this energy transition by committing to produce an electricity demand reduction strategy and support the continued deployment of renewables.

“With the right policies in place, Scotland could become the first EU country to have an almost entirely renewable generation system by 2030.

“Scotland continues to make strong progress in the renewable electricity sector, but there remains much more to be done on renewable heat where currently only 3 per cent of our heating demand comes from renewables.

“We hope that all parties commit to introducing a Warm Homes Act that helps bring clean and affordable warmth to thousands of households and businesses in Scotland, by supporting the growth of district heating and renewable heat.” 

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