Scottish Energy Minister meets with Scotland’s renewables over looming industry jobs crisis

smarter grid 48mw wind farm connectedScottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing is due to meet later today (Weds) with representatives from 130 businesses and local communities affected by the UK Government’s decision to close the Renewables Obligation for onshore wind.

The meeting, which will be held in Glasgow, will provide the opportunity for the sector to voice their concerns on the impact the decision will have on both projects and the supply chain in Scotland.

The UK Government’s recent decision was met with outcry by the Scottish industry who claimed it ‘could cost £3 billion investment in Scotland’ while the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Scotland) said this decision ‘puts as many as 3,000 full-time jobs at risk, particularly in remote areas where alternative employment is hard to find.’

And more than 330 onshore wind farms are at risk of being jettisoned by their developers.

Fergus Ewing, MSP, Scottish Energy Minister
Fergus Ewing, MSP, Scottish Energy Minister

Speaking before the meeting Ewing said: “We fundamentally disagree with the UK Government’s decision to prematurely end support under the Renewables Obligation for the onshore wind sector and today’s meeting is an opportunity to hear about the impact this will have.

“This is exactly the sort of meeting the UK Government should have held before making their announcement which ignored the concerns of many businesses, organisations and communities across Scotland.

“There are many communities and companies who have invested significant amounts of money in renewables schemes and have now found the goal posts have been move, putting crucial investment and jobs at risk.

“I am keen to listen to their concerns, understand the impact and continue to work together in making representations to the UK Government.”

Patricia Hawthorn, Chairman of industry body Scottish Renewables, will open the event in Glasgow with the Minister.

She said: “We welcome the opportunity for our onshore wind industry members to engage with the Scottish Government in seeking constructive solutions to this very serious issue.”

COMMENT:

Open Letter to Patricia Hawthorn, Chairman, Scottish Renewables

Scottish Energy News exists to support and promote the energy sector for the good of the nation – whether that be in oil, coal, gas, nuclear, shale – or renewables.

Our credo is to be independent, impartial and non-partisan.

By communicating to a wider opinion-forming audience of MPs in Holyrood and Westminster, Scottish Energy News also helps the Scottish energy industry to consider and resolve issues.

So it is curious that Scottish Renewables alone – an organisation and an industry that needs all the help it can now get in the face of a possible extinction-level threat – persists in excluding Scottish Energy News from industry conferences and seminars.

ONLY Scottish Renewables – alone of all similar trade and industry bodies (including its own ‘big sister’ body in England, RenewablesUK) – persists in charging Scottish Energy News to attend such events (when other media organisations are not required to make any such payments)

This is not conducive to making friends and influencing people. Indeed, it is building an artificial barrier and ‘bunker mentality’ among some officials at Scottish Renewables – in the same way that some football clubs in England have done by banning reporters from covering their team’s matches.

The rest of the energy world is not ‘against renewables’. As my local Kirk minister says about Catholics and Protestants (and all other faiths): ‘There is more that unites us than divides us’.

Mark R Whittet (LLB, BA)

Executive Director

Scottish Energy News

Editor@ScottishEnergyNews.com

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