Alex Salmond: Brexit will cause huge damage to Scots renewable energy

Alex Salmond was a strong supporter of the sector while in office. Picture: Scott Louden
Alex Salmond was a strong supporter of the sector while in office. Picture: Scott Louden
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Brexit could bring “huge damage” to Scotland’s renewable energy industry, former first minister Alex Salmond has said.

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Leaving the EU could result in a loss of access to research funding in the sector, while the end of freedom of movement could prevent individuals with ideas and expertise from coming to Scotland, he said.

Mr Salmond’s warning, ahead of a conference at the University of Dundee on Friday, follows concerns expressed by environmentalists.

Campaigners have questioned the UK Government’s commitment to funding clean energy projects after existing EU commitments come to an end.

Around two thirds of the UK’s renewable energy is produced north of the border, according to conference chair, Professor Peter Cameron, director of the university’s centre for energy, petroleum and mineral law and policy.

Meanwhile, Scottish ministers have proposed a target for half of Scotland’s energy needs to be met by renewables by 2030.

Mr Salmond, an ardent supporter of the sector while in office, said: “Scotland’s renewable potential is unsurpassed in Europe, but Brexit offers fundamental challenge to realising that opportunity.

“We are leaving the European Union at precisely the time when energy policy is evolving into a more substantial form.

“A loss of access to research funding and the flow of people with ideas from Europe may bring about huge damage to Scotland’s renewable pre-eminence.

“If we really want to become the green energy powerhouse of the continent then we require to bin or bypass Brexit and establish Scotland’s political power lines with Europe.”

The former MP was speaking ahead of delivering a keynote speech at the ‘Renewables After Brexit’ event, bringing together experts from the renewables, legal, financial and political sectors discuss consequences for the industry of the UK leaving the EU.

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