Scottish And Welsh Governments Join Calls On UK Government To Support Renewable Energy

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A joint letter signed by ministers from Scotland and Wales has called for the UK Government to open discussion into its support for renewable energy.

The Past Few Months In UK Renewable Energy Politics

Over the past couple of months, a lot has been written about the UK Government’s plans to retract support for wind and solar energy development across the country. Announced back in June, the UK Government stated that it will cease allowing onshore wind farms access to the country’s main renewables subsidy scheme, starting on April 1, 2016. The Renewables Obligation Scheme came into effect in England, Wales, and Scotland in 2002, and in Northern Ireland in 2005, and “places an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of the electricity they supply from renewable sources.”

A month later the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced that it had removed subsidies for other renewables, and begun consultation on controlling subsidies for solar projects 5 MW and under. The DECC also hinted at the possibility it would begin modifying the country’s Feed-in Tariff program for renewables.

UK Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd

Several weeks following, the newly appointed Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, gave her first official speech at the Aviva climate change conference, where she was roundly criticized for the tenor of her attitude towards renewable energy.

“Despite the laudable ambitions expressed by the Energy Secretary in her speech today, the current trajectory of current Government policy on renewables is not an encouraging one, following their announcements on ending support for onshore wind and solar, as well as scrapping the Green Deal and the Zero Carbon Homes objective, and making punitive changes to the Climate Change Levy,” said RenewableUK’s Director of Policy Dr Gordon Edge.

“It’s like saying you want to win the Tour de France on a bike without wheels. That basic mismatch between rhetoric and action will make investors very nervous. Until this is sorted out, the essential ramp-up of investment in the low carbon economy will flat-line.”

Scotland And Wales Join Forces Against The Motherland

Fast forward through numerous editorials, speeches, and cries for the UK Government to at least begin a dialogue with the renewable energy industry to phase out governmental-financial support, and we find ourselves reading a joint letter signed by Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, and the Welsh Natural Resources Minister, Carl Sargeant, warning that “the lack of discussion from the UK Government on support for renewable energy is likely to cause disruption to community energy projects.”

Image Credit: Wind alarm Scotland via Wikimedia CommonsOf primary importance to the two Ministers is community and local energy, and how it can be better supported moving forward.

“Secondly, you have stated that you will be willing to consider how community and local energy can be supported, and requested further thoughts on how such projects should be considered. Community energy is a key priority for both our governments and we feel very strongly that those communities who have invested heavily, in time, money and commitment, in a cleaner energy future, are deserving of this consideration.”

“Local ownership gives communities more control over their own energy and will help us tackle challenges like grid constraints and fuel poverty – while at the same time sparking economic revival,” said Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing. “There are many communities who have invested significant amounts of money in renewables schemes and have now found the goal posts have been moved, putting crucial investment and jobs at risk.”

“Community energy is a key priority for both our governments and we feel very strongly that those communities who have invested heavily, in time, money and commitment, in a cleaner energy future, are deserving of this consideration,” added Carl Sargeant, the Natural Resources Minister for Wales.

“We both see that the future direction for energy is one of local generation and supply, based on renewable sources, and smart storage and local grid management, with significant local benefit. The current proposals will significantly damage the prospects for this future if the local ownership and benefits of projects are not considered within the support regime.”

Scottish Community Wind Continues Apace

HeartlandThe letter comes at the same time as a new community wind energy project has been given the green light to begin construction, after raising £1.43 million out of the necessary £1.8 million target. In an announcement made earlier this month, the Heartland Wind Community Wind project explained that they had since “agreed payment terms with our main suppliers so that we can get on with the build while raising the remaining £370,000.”

Heartland Wind will install two 250 kW wind turbines in Perthshire in October.

“Securing suitable payment terms with Perth’s RM Energy is the last part of the jigsaw,” said Jon Halle, speaking on behalf of the project developers. “Planning consent and a grid connection have been secured for some time, so the project was locked into the Feed in Tariff before recent DECC statements. This means that we can go ahead with the installation in October as planned and should be generating before Christmas.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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15 thoughts on “Scottish And Welsh Governments Join Calls On UK Government To Support Renewable Energy

  • Scottish and Welsh government call for UK officials to get real. Its so stupid. They complain about wind costs and kill onshore in favor of offshore and nuclear.
    Is someone asleep at the wheel or what?
    Meanwhile Scottish wind power is supplying vast amounts of cheap electricity and can do much more. With someone awake at the wheel.

    • Meanwhile fracking is fast-tracked….

      Where do priorities lie, one wonders?

  • Strongly suspect after fast-tracking fracking, the Tories will simply scrap the DECC and also the climate change act (the one that commits the UK to 80% cuts in co2 by 2050). The party is riddled with Climate Change deniers and the right of the party is dying to get rid of it. If labour elects a progressive leader rather than one of the tory-lite versions, there may be an effective opposition. Harriet Harman has been as effective as a cat-flap in an elephant house since the general election.

    • I’m really surprised Labour weren’t more progressive on the environment and energy at the last election – opinion polls consistently point to a majority supporting renewable energy and protecting the environment and objecting to fracking and nuclear. They could have also said it would save the general population money as nuclear is receiving a much higher strike price, over a longer period of time, than solar of wind following the first round of CFDs.

      • Yes, given Milliband’s relatively good track record as minister for CC, he could and should have trumpeted and made more of it. They got stuck on the Stories narrative and never tried to break away, because we now have a closed echo ideology chamber in UK politics, hence the bedlam that has ensued now that Jeremy Corbyn has actually dared to talk about policies outside the prescribed ‘allowed’ ground.

        Unfortunately I fear he won’t get in, but it would do enormous good if he did become labour leader. (For us comparisons, think Bernie Sanders) – he at least will suggest policies that really aren’t that far left, but are outside the neoliberal orthodoxy, including challenging tracking and nuclear and promoting RE

    • Their is an effective opposition party in parliament, it’s called the SNP party. However we look at Labour it has to change from being right led to left led. The UK population is constantly mislead by the media and the current election process is a good example of this.
      In any case I could see a possible benefit if Labour splits and two parties form from the melee. One of these could join with the SNP and form a truly effective opposition against the current right led tory government.

  • This is what comes from voting in conservatives. Whether it is the UK, USA or Australia, they are all the same. The public wants renewable energy. But they don’t vote it. Conservatives in this day and age win elections by appealing to people’s fear and hatred of minorities. This is what we end up with. It’s sickening. Progress on clean energy is being stopped in places all over the world where the public says that they want it.

  • A hot topic on this site and understandably why. Rudd completely out of here depth in this department and nothing more than a puppet to be discarded at the right time when things go wrong.
    Fracking, have they not noticed that oil price per barrel has gone down which makes fracking less economically viable…!

  • A clever move by Ewing and Sargeant, as Rudd is committed on paper to the rhetoric of “local communities”. She may well cave on this. The argument also strategically undermines the London Tory conviction, based on no evidence, that wind and solar farms are unpopular with their host rural communities.

    They would of course be even more popular if the same communities in England and Wales kept the increased local property tax receipts, as they do in Scotland, instead of watching them disappear to Whitehall thanks to one of Mrs.Thatcher’s worse ideas.

    • But they made one mistake.
      “Local ownership gives communities more control over their own energy and will help us tackle challenges like grid constraints and fuel poverty”
      Tory’s, similar to many GOP, are all about big centralized power; because it keep the money/power in fewer hands. From their stand point local ownership/control is bad; it is a big part of what caused so many German utilities to lose money on their coal assets.

    • THe Tories don’t care. They’re commited to the private destruction of RE, in favour of FF, because it’s in the interests of their backers.

      Hence despite all the rhetoric about local communities haviong the final say for Wind farms, they’re going to ride roughshod over local communities about fracking.

      I’m afraid I don’t see this as a clever move at all. It’s the only move unfortunately. And I don’t think it will work. Osborne (the one really pulling the strings) is committed to his economically illiterate “austerity” drive and to keep the flow of wealth from the majority to the economic elite (which has been the fastest in history since the recession – all the while whilst living standards for the majority fall).

      They are committed to destruction of state spending, except on toys (i.e. defense where it becomes a willy waving competition, like Trident), and centralisation of power into westminster. That is what the Tories and the neoliberal agenda is all about.

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