Major changes have already been made to UK renewable energy subsidies since the Brexit vote and election of new Prime Minister, Theresa May, which has caused a huge amount of uncertainty about how much funding will be provided by investors in supporting the clean energy industry, says a Scottish Affairs Committee report.
According to the report, the fact that the onshore wind subsidy was simply removed without any conference with the Scottish government is very worrying. Scottish Renewables, the so-called ‘voice of renewable energy in Scotland’ informed the committee that the removal of the subsidy is expected to cost Scotland up to £3 billion in loss of investment and potentially put up to 5400 jobs on the line.
The report also highlights not only the removal of vital renewable energy subsidies, but also the lack of clarity about the future of the clean energy industry, which is causing great concern in Scotland, in particular. This adds to the fears of Scotland holding a second referendum and threatening to leave Great Britain to provide the option of staying in the European Union.
“Renewable plants, most often located in rural areas or on the Scottish Islands, face inadequate grid connections and high transmission charges to reach the urban areas where electricity is most needed,” said the committee.
The reasoning behind the added worry about Scotland’s lack of trust in the industry is the fact Scotland has become a rapidly growing renewable energy market in recent years. Scotland currently employs 21,000 people in the renewable sector, a figure that could significantly decrease following on from the changes in the industry that are taking place in recent months.
“This report considers several policy changes the UK government has made to support for renewables – early closure of the Renewables Obligation for solar and onshore wind, cutting support through feed-in-tariffs, and delaying the next round of Contracts for Difference – which we found have weakened investor confidence in the renewable sector, and put at risk opportunities for future growth.” said committee chair, Pete Wishart.
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