Industry warns that Scotland’s onshore wind farm sector ‘could grind to a complete halt’

windScottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing today warned his UK counterpart that axing the £800 million subsidy to onshore wind farms will have a disproportionately heavy impact in Scotland.

This is because more than two-thirds (68%) of all wind farm developments in the pipeline in the UK are in Scotland.

And he called for a gradual phase-out over five years of the subsidy, instead of the axe falling by April 2016.

Ewing is due to meet UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd tomorrow (Weds) after she announced that some 250 planned wind farm developments could be abandoned because of the withdrawal of the UK subsidy.

Meanwhile, w-industry chiefs have issued blunt warnings that Scotland’s onshore wind farm sector could see ‘development almost completely grind to a halt.’

Confidence in the UK’s onshore wind sector has been further hit by hints in the UK Parliament that ministers may remove the technology from the Government’s new competitive auction process.

When asked whether onshore wind projects could access the new Contracts for Difference auction, UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd told the House of Commons: “In respect of contracts for difference, we would be implementing the terms of our manifesto”.

This announcement came less than a week after Rudd announced the early closure of the Renewables Obligation scheme, imperilling 250 onshore wind projects.

A senior source at Scottish Renewables said that wind being blocked from the Contracts for Difference scheme “would result in a massive and dramatic decline in development”, adding:

“The UK Government has stated that early closure of the Renewables Obligation will stop some 250 projects dead in their tracks across the UK, but pushing onshore wind out of Contracts for Difference altogether could see development almost completely grind to a halt.

“The competitive pressures of the Contracts for Difference auction process have already driven down the costs of new onshore wind projects by around 15% and continued allocation could potentially see wind competitive with all new forms of generation by the end of this decade.

“It makes no sense to stop that progress, or to exclude the cheapest form of renewables deployable at scale from bidding in the next allocation round.

“Together these steps would result in a massive and dramatic decline in development, and the jobs and investments that go along with this.

“Given the incredibly fragile mood in the Scottish renewables sector it is now vital that the Secretary of State provides the industry with clarity on the UK Government’s intentions.”

See also:

Rudd justifies cutting £800m wind farm subsidies as fair to consumers and taxpayers (before meeting with Scottish Energy Minister) – http://goo.gl/dXEj2T

 

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