Niall Stuart, Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables: The UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy had a turnover of £46.2 billion and employed almost a quarter of a million people in 2014. Recent policy shifts at Westminster, however, have left the future growth of the sector in question. As we approach the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on November 23 Scottish Renewables has developed a five-point action plan to get our industry investing again. For offshore wind, the key point is the launch of the auction round announced back in March’s (2016) Budget. Onshore wind and solar are the two cheapest forms of renewables that can be deployed today – and are on track to be the cheapest forms of electricity in the next decade. Together they can make a huge contribution to the Government’s ambitions to tackle climate change at lowest cost to consumers. But both are locked out from bidding for Contracts for Difference. That must change if we are to deliver climate targets while keeping consumer bills down. Thirdly, Scottish Renewables would like the Government to address the financial challenge of developing renewables projects in the part of our country with the greatest wind, wave and tide resource: the Scottish islands. Increased renewable energy deployment on Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles could provide benefits up to £725 million for local economies and deliver renewable power to the rest of the UK at a competitive cost to the consumer. Our fourth proposal is for a clear, comprehensive plan to decarbonise heat and support smaller-scale renewables. The Feed-in Tariff, which supports tech like rooftop solar and small wind turbines, is to end soon – after helping incentivise almost 890,000 solar PV installations and initiating a renaissance in hydro in Scotland. Finally, Scottish Renewables would like the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement to look to the future. The Carbon Trust has estimated that increased energy storage in the UK electricity system could deliver savings of up to £2.4bn a year by 2030, or £50 a year on the average consumer energy bill.
Scotsman 17th Nov 2016 read more »