Renewables firms catch minister’s ear over the roar of perfect storm

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SMALLER firms in the renewables industry face a “perfect storm” of delay and uncertainty which is holding back jobs and growth potential, a business lobby group has warned.

A number of business owners met Rhoda Grant MSP, shadow energy minister, to raise concerns as part of an event organised by the Forum of Private Business (FPB).

Problems discussed included the impact of uncertainty over proposed changes to the structure of UK-wide subsidy schemes for renewable generation, including the feed-in tariffs.

The firms also highlighted delays on projects due to planning bottlenecks in councils and issues with electricity companies which control connection to the grid.

Ian Nicoll, managing director of Inverness-based project management company Qmulus, said he welcomed the opportunity to raise concerns over a “lack of understanding of the problems and timescales” involved in renewable energy projects.

“New projects just aren’t going ahead. Developers are waiting to see if projects will still be viable following the Westminster review of the tariffs. While they wait, everything else has to be put on hold, which causes more delays in the future,” he warned.

“More delay means less work. Companies will go out of business and jobs and expertise already in short supply will be lost,” he added.

The meeting was organised as part of the FPB’s Get Britain Trading campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the role played by small businesses and tackle problems which prevent them growing and creating jobs.