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Ewing says decisision is 'anti-business'

Renewables leaders urge Rudd ‘not to abandon’ wind sector

Amber RuddGreen energy leaders today appealed to the UK government not to abandon the onshore wind industry.

Trade body Scottish Renewables joined forces with Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing to condemn UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd’s (left) decision to withdraw a key subsidy, warning that it would have a devastating effect on its growth prospects and threaten up to 3,000 jobs.

Mr Ewing accused the UK government of being “anti-business” and said that scrapping the Renewables Obligation a year earlier than planned would cause damage to the rural economy in particular.

Two hundred representatives of the sector met Mr Ewing in Glasgow today to consider the impact of Ms Rudd’s proposal which she said was in accordance with an election pledge.

Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “The renewables industry is urging the UK Government not to abandon the onshore wind sector in Scotland by pulling the rug from under it a year earlier than planned.

“We need UK ministers to urgently reconsider their position.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has informed industry there will be ‘grace periods’ for the sector, which could mean those wind farm projects which have invested significant sums may still be able to go ahead.

Ms Hogan said: “The details around exactly how a company may receive a grace period remains unclear. This lack of clarity is extremely damaging for investors, but we hope to continue our talks with officials on how this will work in practice.”

Ms Hogan warned of a longer term threat to the sector, with the support mechanism that was introduced to replace the Renewables Obligation also facing an uncertain future.

Contracts for Difference (CfD), the scheme brought in by the last coalition Government to replace the RO, will also end for onshore wind.

Ms Hogan said: “We now believe onshore wind could also be under threat within the CfD framework, which would create even longer-term uncertainty for the industry.

“Onshore wind is already the lowest-cost form of renewable energy and plays a massive role in delivering on the UK Government’s legally binding renewable energy targets and cutting carbon emissions.”

Ms Hogan went on to say: “After further discussion with our members we will be issuing a formal response to the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the early closure of the RO.”

Mr Ewing said: “This decision by the UK Government can only be described as anti-business. The impacts could spread right across Scotland and the wider supply chain, including ports and harbours, transmission and distribution, consultancy, communities and the civil engineering sector.

“I’ve heard from many successful businesses who are at the forefront of renewables technology who are now being forced to look at making redundancies as a result of these changes. I also heard from investors both in Scotland and abroad who are wanting to invest in this industry but these are currently being stalled because of the uncertainty this is causing.

“Delegates this morning spoke about the damage this will cause the rural economy – many of the shops and business that are vital to these communities.

“Over the next few weeks DECC will be seeking the views of those affected and I strongly encourage anyone with an interest to respond on this to ensure our concerns are heard.”

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