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Thursday 22nd November 2012 | 17:30
SNP press release
As Ed Miliband ventures north of the border today to visit one of Scotland’s windfarms, the SNP has today highlighted the damage that decisions in Westminster have caused to the renewables sector in Scotland.
Under the system of transmission charging that Ed Miliband presided over during his time as Energy Secretary, electricity generators in Scotland were forced to pay significant charges to transmit the electricity they produced, while identical electricity generators in the south of England received subsidies for the same activity. While Ofgem has drawn up reforms since Ed Miliband’s time in office, there remain concerns over the damage that the policy is continuing to do to renewables projects in and around Scotland’s islands.
Meanwhile renewable energy companies have repeatedly sounded warnings over the damage that the continued uncertainty on Energy reforms at Westminster are causing, while a civil war rages between the coalition on the issue. The stalemate between the Treasury and the DECC is making it harder and harder for investors to have the confidence to fund new renewables developments.
When Ed Miliband was Energy Secretary, he was also criticised over the lack of attention he paid to Scotland after it took over a year after he took office for him to make a visit to Aberdeen, despite its position as the Energy Capital of Europe.
Commenting, SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie, who sits on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, said:
“Scotland will take no lessons from Ed Miliband on the future of renewables after the damaging obstacles and disincentives that Westminster has consistently put in the path of renewables development in Scotland.
“While he was Energy Secretary it took him more than a year in office before he found the time to visit Europe’s Energy Capital, let alone take any kind of action to boost the renewables sector.
“If he had visited more swiftly, he would have learnt of the huge obstacle that locational based transmission charging was to the development of renewable energy in Scotland.“Perhaps after his visit today he will make up for that by returning to Westminster to make clear the damage to investment prospects that the ongoing civil war in the UK Government is having on renewables in Scotland.
“While the Scottish Government is setting ambitious targets for renewables generation, Westminster could scarcely be doing more to drive investors away if it tried.
“It is clear that instead of asking Scotland to gamble on the uncertain and lukewarm support for renewables at Westminster, we would be far better placed with an independent Scottish Government that has the powers it needs to maximise our renewables potential.”