A further delay in providing much-needed clarity on support for renewables could cause damage to the country’s offshore wind and islands renewable energy projects, Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing warned today.
The UK Department of Energy (DECC) has today postponed vital announcements on Contracts for Difference until at least the autumn.
It had previously committed to publishing information on the availability of support to the offshore wind industry and projects on the Scottish islands this month.
These projects, which have the potential to bring huge benefits to Scottish industry and island communities in particular, can take many years to complete. That is why investors in these projects require certainty now for those projects that are expected to commission around the end of the decade.
DECC also announced their intention to withdraw support for new solar energy farms from April next year.
Ewing said: “Today’s announcement will prolong uncertainty for the renewables industry in Scotland.
“The British Government promised that they would end the lack of clarity about the future of renewables, that they would deliver a clear statement of policy towards 2030 and how they will maintain and achieve their climate targets.
“They have decided to delay the announcement which was promised for this month for an indefinite period, and I fear that that will directly affect jobs and investment Scotland. These would include not only jobs in the offshore wind sector itself but also in related sectors such as fabrication.”
There are also more than 3,000 jobs dependent on solar, these and thousands more in other types of low carbon renewable energy in Scotland are now under threat.
Ewing added: “The low-carbon energy industry has made a lot of progress in reducing costs and is well on its way to doing without financial support but today’s announcements will slow the pace of cost reduction.
While this industry is making good improvements the UK Government continues with its obsession on nuclear energy by building the world’s most expensive power station, at a cost to the taxpayer and bill payer of around £45 billion,
“We have many consented offshore and island renewables projects, and people in our islands communities who have been promised clarity by the UK government this month will once again be left frustrated.”
Hector Grant, Chief Executive of the Scottish Energy Association (above) – whose members reflect the entire energy sector spectrum, including Scottish renewables – commented: “It is hugely disappointing that DECC has delayed the announcement about CFDs by a number of months.
“This only exacerbates the current complex position our members, who work across the whole energy supply chain, find themselves in.
“We would respectfully suggest that the Government takes a more balanced holistic view of the energy needs of the country and engages more closely with the industry as a whole rather than making what seem, on the face of it, disjointed announcements.
“It is imperative that those who are investing in power generation are able to see a long-term reason to commit significant levels of finance.
Meanwhle, a spokesperson for Scottish Renewables added: “The postponement of this year’s auction, and the lack of clarity over future dates and budgets, means the entire industry is totally in the dark about if or when companies will be able to bid for a contract for their power.
“This will result in a freezing of project development, and threatens the timelines required to connect up the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.”
“The early end of subsidies for onshore wind which was announced last month could risk as much as £3 billion pounds of investment in Scotland and 5,400 jobs. Today’s announcement from DECC means that further investments with a value of some £9 billion could now be put on hold.”