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Head of wind farms demands change

Renewables boss hopeful of overturning ‘perverse’ policy

Colin AndersonA senior figure in the renewables industry tonight said he hoped the UK government would “see sense” and agree to the industry’s offer to operate without subsidy.

In exchange for scrapping the subsidy the sector wants the Energy Department to relax restrictions on onshore wind farms and provide more sustainable contract arrangements.

Meetings have taken place in Westminster in recent weeks amid growing tensions between the government and those in the renewables industry.

Colin Anderson, Hamilton-based development director of Banks Renewables, told an audience of MPs, councillors and other interested parties tonight that the UK government was guilty of a “perverse” opposition to the sector.

His comments follow the Energy Department’s decision to cut the renewables obligation for onshore wind projects which has led to a number of projects being mothballed or cancelled.

Critics say the UK government has been forced to implement a pre-election commitment it never expected to apply as it did not expect to be returned to government. Some say it is pandering to backbench Tories who do not want wind farms on land. Instead they want them built out at sea.

Mr Anderson said that by pursuing this agenda the cost of meeting its climate change commitments would rise by £15 billion.

Speaking after his address at the Scottish Parliament, he said that meetings between the Energy Department and representatives of  the industry had left him optimistic that the message was getting through.

“We have got to hope that sense will prevail. Look at the figures. If they do not do something along the lines we propose they will add billions to consumers’ bills.”

Earlier he said: “It seems perverse to me that at a time when the country is hoping to decarbonise our economy the UK Government is turning its back on a readily available source of low cost energy from a proven and reliable technology.

“We have offered the UK Government a “no-subsidy” Contracts for Difference option. This takes away any argument on cost.

“…and we have agreed to the principle that a wind farm should only be developed where there is clear community support and clear and evidenced benefits being delivered.

“What we need now is some common sense in the debate. Let’s remove the politics and provide for a low cost energy future.

“That should mean large scale, highly efficient “no-subsidy” wind farms in Scotland, that are delivered with the support of – and in many cases with the participation of the communities in which they sit – providing tremendously positive outcomes for Scotland and the wider UK energy bill payer.”

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