Wheelhouse: Put renewables investment at the heart of Industrial Strategy

Paul Wheelhouse (Photo: Scottish Government)

Ahead of the UK Government’s launch of the Industrial Strategy today, Scottish Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, has called on the UK Government to ensure that renewable energy investment is a key priority in the strategy.

“Scotland has a pipeline of consented projects awaiting final investment decisions. I would like to see these projects, which would provide hundreds of millions of pounds of engineering and construction activity, developed at the earliest opportunity and at the lowest cost to the consumer,” Wheelhouse said.

“We now need the UK Government to ensure projects have a route to market and remove the uncertainty around timing and eligibility across sectors, including Remote Island Wind, onshore wind, wave and tidal, while there is no price stabilisation mechanism for pumped hydro storage energy as yet either.”

To remove the uncertainty, the UK Government needs to place renewables investment at the very heart of its Industrial Strategy, Wheelhouse said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will use her first regional Cabinet meeting today to launch the Industrial Strategy aimed at improving living standards, increasing the nation’s productivity and ensuring growth is shared across the whole UK.

Scotland’s strong support of renewable energy 

Renewable energy resources have grown to become a major industrial sector in Scotland, with 14,000 people, among a total of 43,500 in low carbon sectors, in highly skilled  jobs across the renewable energy sector, and with an annual turnover of over £5.4 billion in 2014, according to the Scottish Government.

Minister Wheelhouse said that the Scottish Government is strongly supporting renewables and that this will also be evident in the draft Energy Strategy which will be published in the following days.

“Scotland’s renewable sector, and all who work in it or who supply the sector, need the same level of commitment from the UK Government which, despite our repeated calls, has failed to match our level of ambition and indeed since the 2015 general election they have cut support dramatically for hydro and wind energy projects,” Wheelhouse said.

The UK Government must acknowledge the compelling economic arguments for continued investment and support of the renewables industry, so it could continue to contribute to economic growth and tax revenues, Wheelhouse pointed out.

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