Renewable energy can continue to thrive in Scotland without the need for UK Government subsidy, the Scottish Conservatives will say in a debate tomorrow.
Energy spokesman Murdo Fraser welcomed Westminster’s decision to end financial support for new windfarms across the UK, despite SNP opposition.
At tomorrow’s Future of Renewables in Scotland’s Energy Policy debate, he will point to the example of solar energy subsidy, which was changed in 2011 amid grave warnings from the SNP, as well as comments from senior wind industry experts who have said windfarms can still be built without public money.
The Scottish Government is expected to bemoan the decision to end subsidies at tomorrow’s debate, particularly given its focus on wind energy in recent years and its willingness to overturn council decisions to ensure controversial developments go ahead.
Murdo will point to energy economist Tony Mackay, who said windfarm subsidies have been up to three times higher than necessary, and the fact that – if all windfarms under and awaiting construction are built – the SNP will have exceeded its 100 per cent renewables target.
Mr Mackay also described the UK Government subsidy cut as “a sensible way forward” and that it would “hopefully result in lower electricity prices for consumers in Scotland”.
Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said:
“We don’t share the single-minded focus of some other parties on onshore wind as a technology, but we do want to see a balanced portfolio of renewable energy making a contribution.
“We know that the Scottish Government is critical of the UK plans to cut subsidies for wind power, but the reason that has happened is because costs have been spiralling too high.
“We need to remember that, if we add together all the projects constructed, all those under construction, and all those which have planning consent – we will have exceeded the target.
“We cannot go on pouring subsidy into one technology when targets are already being met.
“There’s been a lot of doom and gloom about what these subsidy changes will mean, but fortunately not everyone takes that view.
“We saw a similar position in solar, and of course that industry went from strength to strength, despite the SNP saying in 2011 that changes would have a ‘devastating impact for households and businesses’.
“Renewable energy still has a bright future.
“The UK Government is taking the right decisions to protect consumers, and should be commended for doing so.”