The ScottishPower chief executive, Philip Bowman, has warned the government that investment in renewable energy could be under threat from its plans for reform of its subsidies.
And Bowman hinted that companies such as ScottishPower could switch their focus to America, where it owns one of the leading wind power companies, PPM Energy.
The government is proposing changes to subsidies for renewable energy sources, aiming to increase production of green electricity.
The trade and industry secretary, Alistair Darling, wants to prioritise financial support for emerging technologies above established sources.
But companies such as ScottishPower are worried that existing technologies such as onshore wind farms could be affected and believe the system should be left as it is.
Bowman said that to attract the necessary investment it needed “consistency and clarity” from policy-makers.
“It is vital that consultation on renewable obligation (RO) does not create additional concerns for investors and developers,” he said.
Work began last week on the UK’s biggest wind farm at Whitelee, near Glasgow, which is being developed by Scottish Power. Bowman said the company is investing £3 billion in improving its infrastructure and assets and was concerned at RO banding proposals in the energy review.
“It raises substantive questions and places a cloud over the perceived economics of past and future UK-based onshore wind developments,” he said.
“The result could be to tilt the balance in favour of allocating capital to the USA, where the risk/reward balance is perceived as increasingly favourable relative to that in the UK.”
Bowman told a conference on wind energy that without the pipeline of onshore projects in the UK, it would be difficult to meet our green energy goals.
By John Penman
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