Scottish Energy Minister: Cuts in UK renewable subsidies puts £14bn investment at risk & tells UK shale and coal gas companies: “We need Scottish safety evidence”

renewables general

Shale gas sign








Up to £14 billion pounds of potential investment in renewable energy projects in Scotland is under threat because of cuts in subsidies by the British government, Scotland’s energy minister  said tonight (12 Oct)

Speaking after holding the UK Renewables Roundtable in London earlier today, Fergus Ewing, Scottish Energy Minister, said figures from the UK’s Dept of Energy (DECC) change showed companies had indicated they could invest around  £14 billion pounds in renewable projects such as wind farms, in Scotland.

He said: “Much of that is now under threat because of what we can only describe as all out onslaught on renewables by the UK government.”

Scotland already generates around 50% of its electricity from renewable sources but has a target of 100% by 2020.

Meanwhile, Ewing also said Scotland must carry out ‘its own research’ into the development of unconventional shale gas.

In an indirect reply to major energy companies, such as INEOS and Cluff Natural Resources – who cite extensive public research in England which shows the shale gas and coal-gas exploration is safe within the UK regulatory system – Ewing added:Fergus Ewing, Scottish Energy Minister at Power Scotland Conference 2014

“I have not made up my mind (on shale gas) I want to see the evidence.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to go ‘all out for shale gas’ to  replicate some of the success the of the US shale gas boom, which has cut domestic energy prices for energy-intensive industries (such as motor vehicles), reduced import dependence and forced down crude oil prices around the globe.

Ewing added: “It (shale gas exploration) has been carried out on an enormous scale in the US and Canada, but the places where it has been carried out, are about as different from where the deposits of unconventional gas are perceived to be in Scotland, as it is possible to be.

He pointed out that some of the proposed shale development sites in Scotland are in densely populated areas – unlike many of the shale gas sites in the United States.

The development of shale gas projects has split public opinion in Britain, with the UK government projecting huge economic benefits, while environmental campaigners have raised concerns about its impact.

Scotland has a moratorium on shale gas extraction which it imposed in January this year.

Last week, the Scottish government also expanded its restrictions on unconventional energy extraction and imposed a moratorium on underground coal gasification.

The UK Shale Energy Conference 2015 was held last month in Glasgow in September 2015. Visit the Scottish Energy Association (our organising partner) website for  more views, photos, videos and presentations;

Shale energy post conference logo  SEA

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Prof. Paul Younger

POLICY PLATFORM: By Professor PAUL YOUNGER, Glasgow University

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