Renewable energy in Scotland is facing multiple threats including the end of subsidies, rising planning fees and a shortage of viable new technologies. There is a “perfect storm” of challenges approaching, according to Scottish Renewables, which represents the green energy industry. UK government feed-in tariffs, which support small-scale and household generators such as solar panels or wind turbines, will come to an end next month. The Scottish government will also increase fees for planning applications, up to a maximum of £280,000 for the largest projects. Scottish ministers were forced to scale back the reform, which would have led to fees increasing tenfold, after an industry backlash. Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish energy secretary, said that the scaled-back plan could still lead to “marginal” projects being axed. The last of the wind farms approved in 2015, when the Conservative government announced that onshore wind would no longer be eligible for subsidies, is due to be completed this summer. Scottish Renewables said this would have “enormous implications” for the supply chain, which would have to find new ways to make money. The onshore wind sector supports 8,000 jobs, amounting to half of Scotland’s total renewables workforce. Some of those jobs will be maintained operating and maintaining existing wind farms, but many will be at risk when the last new project is completed. Ageing wind farms are reaching the end of their operational life with no support for replacement. About 10 per cent of Scotland’s large wind farms will have reached 20 years of life by 2025, and will probably be lined up for decommissioning, according to Scottish Renewables. This will rise to about a third of onshore wind farms by 2030.
Times 12th Feb 2019 read more »