MPs on SNP-led UK parliamentary committee to probe Scottish renewable energy sector

Pete Wishart, MP
Pete Wishart, MP

The Scottish Affairs Committee of MPs in the House of Commons has today announced an inquiry into the future of renewable energy in Scotland in the face of expected UK Government plans to reduce levels of taxpayer support for the sector.

Much – if not most –  of the UK’s renewable energy sector is based in Scotland and is an important part of the economy.

Over recent years the sector has attracted significant investment (over £1bn in 2013) and it now employs an estimated 21,000 people.

The UK Government’s plans to reduce support for the sector has raised concern that any funding changes will have a disproportionate effect on Scotland.

The Committee will examine the potential impact of changes to levels of public subsidy available to the renewable energy sector in Scotland. They will also be looking at what the Scottish and UK governments have done to ensure that the aspirations of the sector are taken fully into account in the development of UK energy policy.

Committee chairman Pete Wishart, MP (SNP, Perth and North Perthshire) commented: “The last decade has seen an impressive growth in renewable energy capacity in Scotland and it has recently overtaken nuclear to become the nation’s primary means of energy production. These developing technologies are also a major contributor to the Scottish economy with over 20,000 people employed in the sector.”

“Now that the UK Government has made it clear that it will not allocate future subsidy to onshore wind, we want to assess the potential impact that these cuts to public funding will have on the industry, to investor confidence and to the Scottish economy.

“We also want to see what role the Scotland Office is playing in representing the interests of Scottish people and those working in Renewables who might be affected by these issues.

“Additionally, we want to see if the aspirations of the sector will deliver the level of carbon savings required to meet future carbon budgets. It is possible that reduced support for the sector might put the UK’s ambitions to meet green energy targets at risk.

The Committee invites written evidence on the following issues

  • How important is the renewable energy sector in Scotland to the Scottish economy, to meeting Scotland’s energy needs and to meeting the UK’s renewable and climate change targets?
  • Will current UK Government energy policy maintain a stable renewables industry in Scotland and support future growth in the sector?
  • What is the potential impact of changes to levels of public subsidy on the renewable energy sector in Scotland?
  • How effective is the Scotland Office in ensuring that the aspirations of the sector are taken fully into account in the development of UK energy policy?
  • What progress has been made in implementing the Smith Commission recommendations on renewable energy?
  • What other areas of UK Government energy policy impact on the renewables sector in Scotland?
  • What impact does renewable energy policy in Scotland have on the cost of energy to businesses and households in Scotland compared with the rest of the United Kingdom?

Send written submissions via the renewable energy inquiry page by Friday 19 February 2016.

While the Scottish Affairs Committee at the Westminster parliament is led by an SNP chairman, all the other MPs (apart from three more SNP MPs) are MPs for seats in England.

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