Scottish Renewables chief exec slams potential manifesto drive to curtail industry
Rumoured Conservative plans to eradicate onshore wind turbines would result in thousands of job losses in Scotland, raise energy bills and set back the growth of every renewable technology, the Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables has said.
Prime Minister David Cameron is said to be considering subsidy cuts which would make current and future projects less viable, and a tightening of planning laws to stymie further development.
Scottish Renewables Chief Executive Niall Stuart said: "Axing onshore wind would be bad news for the economy, the environment and employment across Scotland.
"In Scotland alone the industry supports almost 3,400 jobs, with many more dependent on the sector. More than £1bn was invested in 2013, with much more to come.
"Almost half of the power generated in Scotland last year came from renewable sources, with onshore wind making up 65% of that.
"The technology is the cheapest large-scale source of renewable power, is already on track to be cheaper than new nuclear generation and is increasingly competitive with gas.
"Without onshore wind, the UK will either miss its 2020 climate change targets or have to find renewable power from somewhere else – which can only mean higher costs.
"Every unit of power generated by onshore wind means 99.92% less carbon is emitted than if the same unit had been generated by fossil fuels."
Mr Stuart also said onshore wind was key to the emerging areas of offshore wind and wave and tidal, adding: "Onshore wind is driving investment in grid infrastructure upgrades across the country, which are key to the development of offshore wind in the north of Scotland and for wave and tidal projects on the islands.
"No onshore wind means no connections to the islands and no wave and tidal industry – it is that simple.
"These types of rumours undermine confidence in the industry and put future investments in all forms of renewable energy at risk."