Scottish Energy Association sends open letter of concern over UK renewables to British Energy minister

Hector Grant, Chief Executive, Scottish Energy Association
Hector Grant, Chief Executive, Scottish Energy Association

The Scottish Energy Association (SEA) is the membership organisation for the energy industry in Scotland. 

The association supports power and energy organisations working in Scotland, across the UK and internationally and is dedicated to strengthening commercial ties and ensuring the best possible opportunities for businesses involved across the energy supply chain.

Its members work on energy from fossil, nuclear, renewable sources and unconventional gas.

Representing some of the industry’s leading players, the Scottish Energy Association helps members in offering an informed voice on energy matters to legislators, regulators, decision makers and the media.

And in an Open Letter to Amber Rudd, UK Energy Minister, Hector Grant, Chief Executive of the Scottish Energy Association, has warned of the risks of uncertainty over recent changes in UK government policy (which are summarised, below). He said:

“Since the general election our members have experienced some very significant changes caused by the government’s change in approach to renewable energy. This causes wider uncertainty over energy policy in the UK; this reduces confidence in the sector, which in turn increases costs.

“The Scottish Energy Association would request that you continue and expand upon the interaction you have with the energy industry, with the aim of creating a clear strategic view of the UK’s future energy mix, considering all forms of generation available, the costs to consumers and the need to deliver emissions reduction targets for 2020 and beyond.

“In the immediate term, there is an urgent need for the government to give greater confidence on implementation of the Renewables Obligation grace periods: our members are investing many millions of pounds in good faith that your proposed grace period requirements of 18 June** will be honoured.

“The delay to this element of the Energy Bill is causing yet more financial uncertainty to an industry that supports 19,000 jobs in the UK.

“Beyond the RO we would also support a move to revenue-stabilisation. Given the deflated wholesale price of electricity in the UK, some form of financial support must be given for any new generating capacity: we consider revenue-stabilisation to be the most cost effective and technology neutral proposal at this time.

“This mechanism should be available for onshore wind (and other forms of electricity generation as appropriate) to reduce costs to the consumer whilst enabling a diverse generating mix in the UK.”

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Schedule of recent changes in UK government policy**

The following issues have all been reported in Scottish Energy News. Our archives are searchable online within the search facility on our website (www.ScottishEnergyNews.com )

See also: Scotland takes lion’s share of onshore UK wind energy investments, England forges ahead offshore, and 90% of renewable industry gives thumbs-down to Govt. subsidy cuts –

http://www.scottishenergynews.com/scotland-takes-lions-share-of-onshore-uk-wind-energy-investments-england-forges-ahead-offshore-and-90-of-renewable-industry-gives-thumbs-down-to-govt-subsidy-cuts/

 

**June 18: The Renewables Obligation scheme, through which most of our onshore wind is funded, is to close a year early, putting £3 billion of investment and 5,400 jobs in Scotland at risk  

June 24: Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd hints in the UK Parliament that ministers may remove onshore wind from the Government’s Contracts for Difference scheme.

July 8: Chancellor George Osborne announces renewable energy producers will now pay the Climate Change Levy tax, costing green energy producers around £450m in the current financial year, and up to £1bn by 2020-2021.

July 22: The guaranteed level of subsidy for coal or other fossil-fuelled power stations which are converting to wood or another biomass fuel is removed.

July 22: Support for larger solar installations of less than five megawatts will end a year earlier than previously suggested, under plans which have been drawn up for consultation.

July 22: News that an announcement on the next round of competitive auctions to sell power through the Contracts for Difference scheme will not come until the autumn – delaying £9 billion of projects in Scotland alone and adding to uncertainty in the renewables industry.

Sept 8: The Impact Assessment for the early closure of the Renewables Obligation indicates that the action may cost local communities around £1m a year in lost community benefit, will add 63 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and only save consumers an average of 30p on their household electricity bills.

Sept 9: The UK Government confirms DECC will be removing a rule which adds certainty – and facilitates investment in – Feed-in Tariff-scale green energy schemes from October 1, 2015.

Sept 17: UK slips out of top 10 in EY Attractiveness Index for renewable energy investment for the first time.

Sept 22: CBI Director-General John Cridland warns the UK Government risks sending a “worrying signal” by rolling back on policies to support clean technology.

Sept 24: Department of Energy and Climate Change ‘Energy Trends’ statistics show renewables output is at a record high.

ONGOING: There is currently no commitment from the UK Government to continue to fund the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), despite a recommendation from the Committee on Climate Change.

 

Meanwhile, Dale Vince, founder of the green power generator Ecotricity, has challenged the Government to ‘scrap subsidies for nuclear power and fossil fuels to create a level playing field after it slashes support for renewable energy’.

He said: “In the second quarter of this year renewable energy, for the first time, provided more power to Britain than the nuclear and coal industries, a record 25%.  And it has done so with a fraction of the subsidies that the fossil and nuclear industries have had and continue to have.

“In contrast, support for all renewable energy amounted to £2.6 billion last year ­– about £100 per household­ per year – with onshore wind, which is the main focus of Government attacks, adding just £10 to household energy bills. “

 

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