The Scottish National Party has warned that uncertainty caused by UK government policy could put the offshore wind industry in jeopardy and risk the potential to create a substantial number of jobs in Scotland as well as clean, sustainable energy.
Mike Weir MP, the SNP Energy spokesperson, moved a debate on the future of the industry due to the impact of the current Contract For Difference (CfD) regime.
Speaking in the Westminster debate last night, Weir said: “Scotland has huge potential to provide a large proportion of energy from offshore wind – yet uncertainty caused by the UK government puts this all at risk.
“The production of offshore wind has the potential to create a significant domestic manufacturing and export industry.
“Indeed Renewables UK has estimated that employment in the offshore renewable industry can grow from the current 13,000 jobs to over 44,000 by 2023, while the Centre for Economics and Business Research has found that investment in offshore wind will deliver £8.4 billion of gross value added to the UK economy by 2020 and that the sector could boost exports by £18 billion a year by 2030.
“However, this could be put at risk if the UK government does not make clear what would be available to the industry – by way of strike prices and CfD beyond the “cliff face” of the current regime in 2020.
“We need clarity from the UK government on both the frequency of allocation rounds and foresight of at least two allocation budgets at any one time.”
Fellow SNP MP Dr. Eilidh Whiteford who also spoke in the debate, added: “The developers need confidence for forward investment decisions. The UK government needs to make it clear they will continue to support offshore wind.
“There’s a grave danger that the UK Government will pull the rug out from under a fledgling industry before it has a chance to establish itself, and other countries will develop the technologies that could bring investment and jobs to Scottish coastal communities.”