The UK Government has insisted its commitment to the renewable industry across the country is firm.
In a response sent to the Scottish Affairs Committee, the Tory Administration recognised that changes in the support for renewables have raised concerns about the impact on the industry. However, it insisted, the action was needed due to their rapid growth.
It added: “[That] contributed to a significant forecast overspend under the Levy Control Framework. These costs are ultimately borne by all consumers and there is an onus on government to strike the right balance between supporting new technologies and being tough on subsides to keep bills as low as possible.”
The removal of subsidies for onshore wind farms and the reduction of economic support for solar projects were among the energy policy changes that former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Administration announced last year.
The current government’s comment follows the committee’s report launched in July which called on Theresa May’s Administration to take action to support the improvement of infrastructure between the Scottish Islands and the mainland.
In its response, the government also recognised the central role Scottish renewables play “in contributing to developing and maintaining a thriving UK renewables sector” but insisted “affordability is key to decarbonisation” and costs of many forms of green projects are falling.
However, the committee stated it is “disappointed” because the government has not recognised the uncertainty felt in the renewable sector or provided meaningful support and reassurance in their response.
Committee Chair Pete Wishart said: “We are told that everything is fine but where are the reassurances to the renewable sector that the support will be there to encourage the development of new plants and new technologies? Where is the investment in infrastructure? They have provided us with a tacit admission that they think onshore wind has reached its limit, let us hope that is not their view of the industry as a whole.
“Scotland has been way ahead of the rest of the United Kingdom when it comes to renewable energy. The government should be celebrating this and doing everything it can to ensure this success continues into the future, not cutting support and reducing confidence. We urge them to do more to work with representatives of the industry and the Scottish Government as they develop future plans.”
According to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) renewable subsidies will increase consumer’s bills by the end of the decade.
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