Scotland’s minister for energy urges UK government to make green energy in forthcoming industrial strategy
Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, has urged the UK government to ensure that renewable energy investment is a key priority in its forthcoming Industrial Strategy.
Renewable energy resources have grown to become a major industrial sector in Scotland, with 14,000 people, among a total of 43,500 in low carbon sectors, in highly skilled jobs across the renewable energy sector, and with an annual turnover of over £5.4bn (€6.26bn) in 2014.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May will today (23 January,2017) use her first regional Cabinet meeting to launch proposals for a Modern Industrial Strategy.
The Industrial Strategy is a vital part of the ‘Plan for Britain’ set out by the Prime Minister last week.
Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government is absolutely determined to ensure that Scotland’s renewable energy sector continues to grow because of the clear and very substantial economic benefits it brings to communities and the country as a whole.
“Crucially the sector also plays a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, underpinning our work to fight climate change through decarbonising our electricity generation by offsetting the need to burn fossil fuels.
“Our record on supporting renewables is strong – and further evidence of our commitment will come in the draft Energy Strategy that I will publish next week.
“Scotland’s renewable sector, and all who work in it or who supply the sector, need the same level of commitment from the UK government which, despite our repeated calls, has failed to match our level of ambition and indeed since the 2015 general election they have cut support dramatically for hydro and wind energy projects.
“For our renewable industry to thrive, and to continue to contribute economic growth and tax revenues the UK government must acknowledge the compelling economic arguments for continued investment and support.
“Scotland has a pipeline of consented projects awaiting final investment decisions. I would like to see these projects, which would provide hundreds of millions of pounds of engineering and construction activity, developed at the earliest opportunity and at the lowest cost to the consumer.
“We now need the UK government to ensure projects have a route to market and remove the uncertainty around timing and eligibility across sectors, including Remote Island Wind, onshore wind, wave and tidal, while there is no price stabilisation mechanism for pumped hydro storage energy as yet either.
“We need to question the UK government’s commitment to renewables as a result. They have the opportunity to put an end to this uncertainty by placing renewable investment at the very heart of their long awaited Industrial Strategy.”