The Tory policy of opposing new subsidies for clean power projects until 2025 at the earliest risks the progress that the renewable energy sector has been making in recent years – and with Scotland uniquely positioned to benefit from green energy, this opposition to renewables is set to hit Scotland hardest.
This keynote policy – announced in yesterday’s Budget – has caused ‘deep concern’ in the British renewable energy sector.
Gillian Martin, SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East, commented: “Barely a day goes by without Tory energy and environment policy being called into question.
“Just this week we’ve seen MPs slam their Hinkley Point nuclear power station, which will hit consumers in the pocket, and leading industry voices have questioned the economic sense in building new nuclear power stations, while and environmental groups have criticised the Tory budget which turns its back on renewables.
“The recent struggles at BiFab reminded us all that the renewables sector brings highly skilled industrial jobs to Scotland – and we are uniquely placed to benefit from the green energy industry for years to come not just because of our natural resources, but the skills of our workforce too.
“Tory plans on renewable energy lack vision for the future – they threaten jobs and investment, force higher bills for consumers, and most crucially hold back progress on climate change.”
Separately, Hans Bunting, the chief operating officer of Innogy Renewables, part of the company that owns the UK energy supplier N-Power, said earlier this week that new nuclear power stations in the UK ‘can no longer compete with windfarms’ on price.
Innogy recently secured a subsidy of £74.75 per megawatt hour of power to build a windfarm off the Lincolnshire coast, which is £17.75 cheaper than Hinkley and should be completed about three years earlier.
N-Power and Perth-based utility SSE have announced plans to merge their house gas and electricity supply business – a move which Bunting said ‘would be good for consumers’.
He said: “I think at the end of the day it will help competition because then you have two large players on the market, and they will be more efficient.”
Meanwhile, MPs on the Westminster parliament’s Public Accounts committee have excoriated the Brit-Govt for ignoring the consumer interest in ordering a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.
Labour MP Meg Hillier, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “We are concerned that consumers are locked into an expensive deal lasting 35 years and that the Government did not revisit the terms between the original decision to go ahead and now – despite estimated costs to the consumer having risen five-fold during that time.
“Over the life of the contract, consumers are left footing the bill and the poorest consumers will be hit hardest. Yet in all the negotiations no part of government was really championing the consumer interest.
“And as the financial case for Hinkley has weakened, the government has talked up the boost to jobs and skills that Hinkley will generate. But the government has no clear plan of how these so-called wider benefits will be achieved, or crucially how it will measure success.”
24 Nov 2017