Scottish Tories call for end to wind farm subsidies

The Scottish Tories have called for an end to onshore wind farm subsidies. Picture: TSPL
The Scottish Tories have called for an end to onshore wind farm subsidies. Picture: TSPL
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SUBSIDIES for new wind farms should be scrapped as rural parts of the country have “had enough” of developments, the Scottish Tories have said.

The party believes the move will save money for businesses and consumers and reduce the number of sites across Scotland.

The Scottish Government wants to protect the scheme and has recently called for a consultation with the UK Government over reports that it was on the verge of closing the existing wind farm subsidy programme.

The Scottish Government previously set a target of around 16GW to be generated by wind farms by 2020. The Tories said figures show the target has been “effectively surpassed” with 7.1 GWs currently produced, while around 9GWs-worth schemes have been given the green light and other projects said to generate 4GWs already in the planning system.

The end of onshore wind subsidies was part of the Tory election manifesto but the SNP said UK Government energy policy is hitting Scotland’s renewables industry and has called for an end to uncertainty.

Scottish Tory energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “Now that the SNP has effectively surpassed this ridiculous target it set itself, it’s time to rein in yet more onshore wind developments.

“Rural Scotland has had enough, and so have businesses and consumers.

“The Scottish Government has rolled out the red carpet for wind farms for too long.

“We can see the visual damage that has caused, and it makes no financial sense for so much money to be ploughed into a form of energy that is unreliable and intermittent.

“The Conservatives in Westminster have pledged to end subsidies for wind farms, and it’s time for the Scottish Government to back this approach.

“Communities who’ve had their landscapes blighted by turbines will no doubt agree.”

The SNP highlighted an Ernst & Young report which found that investment in renewable energy in the UK has been “marred” by conflicting messages.

SNP MSP Mike Mackenzie said: “This report is a timely reminder of the damage uncertainty caused by the UK Government’s mixed messages can have on Scotland’s renewables industry - and highlights the need for real action to support this important part of our economy.

“Scotland has incredible opportunities to be a world leader in a range of renewable technologies which provide clean, sustainable power which we simply must capitalise on.

“The UK Government needs to immediately reconsider its wrong-headed priorities and end their damaging period of uncertainty - and confirm the future of onshore wind support which is so important to Scotland’s renewables industry.

“It’s vital that the UK Government now take immediate steps to ensure that Scotland’s onshore wind sector gets the support it needs and deserves to allow the industry to continue to invest in jobs, create clean energy and tackle climate change.”