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SNP demands wind farm subsidy U-turn  

Credit:  SNP demand 'wind farm subsidy U-turn' | By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst | 23 July 2015 | www.bbc.co.uk ~~

The UK government should relax its clampdown on onshore wind subsidies, the Scottish government has demanded.

Ministers scrapped subsidies following complaints, mainly from England, about the impact of wind farms on the countryside.

But Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that as 70% of planned wind farms are set for Scotland, it would be disproportionately affected.

The UK government said customers must get value for money.

The SNP have insisted wind farms are creating jobs and bringing cash benefits to Scottish people and councils.

The nationalists say there is widespread support in Scotland for their policies to expand wind power and to produce almost all energy from renewables.


In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, Ms Sturgeon said those firms which had spent millions of pounds planning new wind farms in Scotland should still be allowed to qualify for subsidies.

She quoted the CBI, which has urged a grace period for developers whose plans are already in the planning system.

She told Mr Cameron: “Given your party has traditionally prided itself on being supportive of business, it is concerning that you are taking such an anti-business approach on this issue.”

She also warned that the subsidy cuts were undermining the UK’s claims to be a world leader on climate change.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I wish to stress my concern about the implications of the policy for this year’s crucial UN (climate) talks in Paris. So far this year you have spoken out on climate change, pledging ‘to accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient low carbon economy’.

“You also said ‘It is in our national interest to act and ensure others act with us’, and you have also spoken of the need to get the private sector involved.

“However, your government’s decision to cut planned support for renewable energy sets an extremely bad example to other countries, will put at risk Scotland’s renewable energy targets, and also runs counter to your manifesto commitment to cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible.”

The UK government has been strongly criticised by industry experts for expressing a wish to save on people’s energy bills, then jettisoning policies which would lead to that outcome.

The renewables industry has said it is suffering a stealth assault, with a drip-feed of policies.

Some environmentalists believe the government has launched a war on renewables because they threaten the profits of conventional fossil fuel firms.

Treasury measures

Over the past few months, the Treasury has cut onshore wind subsidies; large-scale solar subsidy; the energy efficiency budget; small-scale solar subsidy; the obligation for new homes to be zero carbon; the escalating tax on polluting industry; and low vehicle excise duty on energy efficient cars. It has also introduced a tax on green energy.

The SNP letter also complained that with the threat of power shortages on the horizon, this was not a good time to be cutting investment in energy.

The UK government said a wholesale shake-up of confusing energy policies was needed to ensure that bill-payers get value for money and that bills are kept as low as possible.

A spokesman said: “The top priority is to combat climate change in the most cost-effective way. The government is determined to help industries and technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies.”

Source:  SNP demand 'wind farm subsidy U-turn' | By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst | 23 July 2015 | www.bbc.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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