Brexit shouldn’t get in way of realising new vision for Scottish renewables industry

In his opening remarks to the Scottish Renewables’ Onshore Wind Conference in Glasgow on Wednesday 29 June, its chief executive Niall Stuart said: “The many questions thrown up by Brexit just add to the huge uncertainty that was already surrounding Scotland’s renewable energy sector following numerous changes to support by the Westminster Government over the last 12 months.

“We know that implementing the vote to leave the EU will be a huge and complex task. But if we want to keep investing in renewables, to protect the jobs that the sector supports and to continue cleaning up the energy sector, then the UK Government must ensure it doesn’t get in the way of three crucial things for the industry.

“Firstly; that ministers stick to their plan to announce this summer the final decision on support for renewable energy projects on Scotland’s islands, and the details of auctions for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy.

“Secondly, that common sense prevails on onshore wind and solar, and that the two cheapest forms of clean electricity are again allowed to bid for long term contracts for power. That makes sense for industry, for consumers and for the environment.

“And, finally, it is vitally important that our new Prime Minister and Cabinet set out a clear and unequivocal commitment to the country’s international obligations to tackle climate change. We are confident that significant growth in renewables will be key to achieving that, and to keeping future bills down for consumers.”

Mr Stuart also highlighted the importance of leadership by the Scottish Government at this time.

He continued: “Here in Scotland, it is vital that the debate on leaving the EU doesn’t get in the way of building a new vision for our energy sector, and for the role that renewable energy will play in meeting our world-leading climate change targets and boosting the economy.

“The growth of renewable energy over recent years has been an amazing success. Driven largely by the growth of onshore wind, the sector now produces more power than any other form of electricity, supports 21,000 jobs and delivers hundreds of millions of pounds of investment each year.

“However, confidence amongst most of our members is incredibly fragile right now, and we need clear leadership at Westminster and Holyrood if we are to deliver further growth, to protect the many thousands of jobs supported by the industry, and to deliver the change in our energy sector that the people of Scotland want to see.”

The Scottish Renewables’ Onshore Wind Conference, Wednesday 29 June, is being held at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology Innovation Centre. For full details of the conference programme please visit the Scottish Renewables website.