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Minister in call to UK counterpart

Ewing demands green u-turn at London Summit

Fergus EwingScottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will today make a further attempt to persuade Westminster Energy Secretary Amber Rudd to reverse her cuts in subsidies for the renewables sector.

Mr Ewing heads to London to host a Renewables Roundtable event with representatives from across the industry, environmental officials and business organisations to discuss the impact of recent UK Government decisions on green energy.

Holyrood says the UK Government’s energy policy is costing the renewables industry millions as investor confidence evaporates, costing jobs and causing some firms to shutdown projects.

It says this jars with the UK wanting to take a leading role at the upcoming Paris climate change talks, and despite concern on decreasing UK energy generation margins.

A recent report from Scottish Renewables suggests “around two gigawatts of onshore wind projects in Scotland have been put at risk, projects that could bring around £3 billion of investment.

It says the UK Government’s own impact assessment shows that 63 million tonnes more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere as a result of their cuts in renewable energy. And their cuts come as National Grid’s assessment show a further tightening of the gap between electricity supply and demand.

Mr Ewing will be asking the UK Government for clarity on a number of issues:

• A Renewables Obligation grace period which includes everything already in the planning system
• A date for the next Contract for Difference (CfD) funding round to give certainty for developers
• A route to market for new onshore wind farms
• Concessions for community energy as part of the Feed-In Tariff (FITs) scheme

Speaking ahead of the summit, he said: “Recent decisions on renewable energy by the UK Government can only be described as anti-business, anti-environment and anti-energy security.

“The impacts are spreading right across Scotland and the UK. It not just the renewables industry that are affected but also the wider supply chain, including ports and harbours, transmission and distribution, consultancy, communities and the civil engineering sector.

“We have made repeated calls to extend the grace period for all projects currently in the planning system and I am disappointed this doesn’t appear to have been accepted. As the Energy Bill progresses in Westminster we will continue to argue that it is in the interests of business, environment and energy security for the UK Government to mitigate their hard-line stance.”

>> As I See It: Terry Murden says Mr Ewing is right to call for a u-turn, but should do one himself on alternative gas

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