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Ewing invites Rudd to meet likely renewables casualties

Fergus Ewing12.45 update: Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has invited his UK counterpart Amber Rudd to Scotland to discuss the impact of her decision to end onshore wind subsidies.

Mr Ewing made the offer during a meeting with Ms Rudd in London this morning. It follows claims that the decision could lose the industry £3 billion in investment and 3,000 full-time jobs.

Ms Rudd announced the end of subsidy under the Renwables Obligation as part of a Conservative government General Election commitment, but she surprised Holyrood and the Scottish industry by bringing the decision forward by a year.

The minister wants the UK Energy Secretary to meet developers and communities who have invested in renewables schemes.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also written to the Prime Minister asking him to ‘to look again at the impact these proposals will have on the Scottish and the wider UK economy and find an alternative approach.’

During Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, David Cameron said: “We have taken away an unnecessary subsidy, given that it is now a mature technology.”

Mr Ewing, who is in London to attend the Global Offshore Wind 2015 conference, said: “The decision taken by the UK Government to close the Renewables Obligation early for the onshore wind sector will have a negative impact on the renewables industry in Scotland and potentially on the thousands of people who work in it.

“The Scottish Government has been clear that onshore wind should be able to compete with other technologies through the ‘contracts for difference’ auction. To prevent the cheapest technologies from competing in the auction will not deliver the best price for the consumer and I have asked UK Government to provide clarity on this issue which is causing anxiety to the industry.

“During our meeting this morning I also invited the Secretary of State to Scotland to Scotland this summer to meet with the industry and developers. Since it was announced I have met with key representatives from the industry to listen to their concerns about the impact on both developers and the supply chain.

“I reiterated these points this morning during the meeting and stressed how important it was for the Scottish Government to be involved in how any changes to the Renewables Obligation is are developed, including maximum flexibility around grace periods for developments that could be affected.

“This is especially important as the decision will have a disproportionate impact on Scotland as around 70 per cent of onshore wind projects affected by the UK Government policy change are located here.”

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