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Fergus Ewing

Renewables/Energy Transition

Fergus Ewing: Consumers real victim in wind subsidy scrap

This week’s summit was a an opportunity for me to hear the industry’s concerns about the recent decision from the UK Government to close the Renewables Obligation early in next April. This of course is a big blow to our industry in Scotland especially as around 70% of onshore wind projects in the UK planning system are in Scotland, this will surely have a disproportionate impact on us. This can only be described as anti-business and the impacts could spread right across Scotland and the wider supply chain, including ports and harbours, transmission and distribution, consultancy, universities and the civil engineering sector. All of this is will come at great personal and economic cost to our businesses and people. I’ve heard from many successful businesses who are at the forefront of renewables technology who are now looking being forced to looking at redundancies as a result of these changes.


Fergus Ewing: Budget neglects exploration opportunity

The UK Government’s decision to widen the scope of the investment allowance in the Summer Budget is a positive measure, and something which the Scottish Government has previously called for – however, this Budget represents a missed opportunity for the North Sea. As the First Minister outlined at the Oil & Gas UK Conference last month in Aberdeen, and as I reiterated in my letter to the Chancellor, further action is still required to incentivise exploration, promote stability across the industry and boost investor confidence. The Scottish Government’s latest summary of the oil and gas sector identified the North Sea as the largest oil producer in the EU by a considerable margin and the second largest gas producer in the EU after the Netherlands, supporting around 200,000 jobs and with a supply chain with international sales of more than £11billion.


Exploiting Scotland’s unique advantages will lead to growth

Some say Scotland must make a choice for our future: pursue economic growth, or protect the environment. My response is simple - there is no contradiction in pursuing both. The only credible long-term economic strategy is to exploit Scotland's unique advantages - engineering excellence, research base, energy expertise and natural resources - to grow the economy, while reducing emissions long-term.

Oil & Gas

London must understand the need for certainty

On July 25, the UK Government announced its decision to follow Scotland's lead and set its own onshore wind band at 0.9 ROCS. This decision is to be welcomed, but I am concerned at London's decision to only set this band for one year, until 2014, and immediately review it, risking yet more uncertainty for the industry and potentially discouraging investors.