Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, has called on 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 in 2014.
Prime Minister Theresa May will today (23 January) use her first regional Cabinet meeting to launch proposals for a Modern Industrial Strategy.
“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.”
The Industrial Strategy is a vital part of the Plan for Britain set out by the Prime Minister last week.
Mr 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.”
The Prime Minister will tell a Cabinet meeting in the North West this morning that a truly modern British Industrial Strategy must make Britain a hive of new industries which will challenge the companies and industries of today.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The Modern Industrial Strategy will back Britain for the long term: creating the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and backing them to invest in the long-term future of our country.
“It will be underpinned by a new approach to government, not just stepping back but stepping up to a new, active role that backs business and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of its success.”