Spending review does not give renewable workers ‘clarity’ on future of sector, trade body boss says

The new spending review laid out by the UK Government does not give Scottish renewable energy workers “clarity” on the future of their sector, the boss of an energy trade body has said. Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, hit out at the government last night after the publication of the spending review, which will look to add £13.4bn to total public spending, including £1.7bn for capital spending.

She expressed concern after the review only pledged an extra £30 million for low carbon projects.

Ms Mack said she felt the sum did not provide “certainty and clarity” over the future of the renewable energy sector in Scotland. She said: “Scotland’s renewable energy sector can help to power Britain’s infrastructure and deliver on the government’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions.

“It is concerning, however, that the 17,700 people who work in Scotland’s renewables sector have not been given the clarity and certainty on the future of their industry that they need.

“Continued uncertainty over the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive and the inadequacy of the replacement of the Feed-In Tariff are troubling for low-carbon heat and small-scale renewables companies respectively.”

A wind turbine converts wind into electricity and the largest one is 20 stories tall.

Since the 2015 introduction of a public veto on onshore wind projects by the UK Government in England, few developments have been commissioned, despite growing popularity for the technology. In May, Ms Mack described the UK Government stance on onshore projects as “wrongheaded”. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said the policy was “short-sighted” and ruled any such move in Scotland.

Ms Mack added last night: “The Government’s continued refusal to unleash the billions of pounds worth of socioeconomic benefits associated with allowing onshore wind and solar PV to compete on an even playing field within our energy system is also a massive missed opportunity.

“The Chancellor said that ‘the challenge of decarbonisation is real’, but pledged just £30 million extra for projects aimed at achieving the Government’s net zero target. It is crucial that the National Infrastructure Strategy promised for later this year better reflects the magnitude of the task.”