The SNP has raised concerns that thousands of Scottish jobs in solar energy could be lost due to Tory cuts to renewable subsidies – yet a UK government consultation into the proposed changes will not include any impact on employment.
As first revealed in Scottish Energy News, the Tory government is currently undertaking a consultation on the early closure of the Renewable Obligation for larger solar installations and has also launched a review of the feed-in-tariff which could threaten support for roof-top solar panels.
MP Drew Hendry (SNP, Inverness) asked Energy and Climate Change Minister Andrea Leadsom what impact the proposed changes would have on the 34,000 people who work in the sector across the UK. But she said no assessment would be carried out until the consultation closes.
According to UK Government figures the Scottish solar industry supports 3,200 jobs – meaning thousands of jobs could be under threat due to the proposed changes.
Hendry “Tory energy policy that favours support for dangerous and unreliable nuclear power over clean energy is not only damaging for our environment and economy but also the people who rely on employment in the sector.
“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to mitigate these measures and I applaud the decision by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to continue support for solar PV projects until the original closure of the Renewable Obligation.
“With Scottish Government support our renewables industry is going from strength to strength – bringing jobs and investment to Scotland, reducing carbon emissions and performing a key role in meeting our energy needs.
“But the UK government needs to wake up to the potential threat these cuts pose to jobs and should be considering every possible outcome of the subsidy changes during the consultation process and not after it has closed.”