Energy companies that stunned the world by offering to build wind farms with no subsidy may ruin the industry’s reputation by never actually delivering on their promises.
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.
The SNP Government is obsessed with lining the pockets of foreign windfarm developers, according to campaigners who have condemned a summit to be hosted by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing tomorrow. He will meet representatives of the renewable energy sector in Glasgow where they are expected to vent their anger over the UK Government’s decision to end subsidies to the industry. Mr Ewing’s opponents say the main beneficiaries of the turbines built across Scotland are overseas companies.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is to chair an emergency summit with the green energy sector today amid concerns about the impact of the UK Government’s decision to end a subsidy scheme for onshore wind farms.
Developers are sometimes under-assessing the impact of wind farm noise and appearance on residents living nearby, according to new research. The two-year study looked at how the visual, shadow flicker and noise impacts predicted by developers at the planning stage of ten wind farms across Scotland compared to the reality once operational. The test sites included wind farms at Dalswinton in Dumfries and Galloway, Achany in the Highlands, Drone Hill in the Borders, Hadyard Hill in South Ayrshire, Little Raith in Fife and West Knock Farm in Aberdeenshire.
Onshore wind farms could be built without any need for Government subsidies “in the near future”, energy minister Andrea Leadsom has said.
Around 250 onshore wind projects already in development are likely to be cancelled because the Government is ending subsidies which would aid their completion, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has announced. The cancellation of subsidies for onshore wind offered under the Renewables Obligation (RO) is likely to mean that 2,500 turbines which were due to be built are scrapped, Ms Rudd said. She said consumer bills will not rise and insisted the move would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies that would otherwise have been paid out to energy projects.
Nicola Sturgeon has described the UK Government’s decision to end subsidy payments for onshore wind farms a year early as “wrong-headed, perverse and downright outrageous”.
Plans to end subsidies for new onshore wind farms will push up energy bills and could face judicial review, the Government has been warned. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has unveiled proposals to close the existing subsidies payment schemes a year early for new onshore wind projects, to fulfil a Conservation election manifesto promise. The Tories claim the onshore turbines “often fail to win public support and are unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires”.