The Scottish renewable energy industry is facing a wave of obstacles that threaten the sector, including the end of subsidies, rising fees and a lack of new viable technologies.
UK tariffs that support small-scale and household generators, including solar panels and wind turbines, will cease to exist at the end of the month, which comes as Scotland look set to increase fees for planning applications, up to £280,000 for the largest projects.
Scottish Renewables, the body that represents the green energy industry, described the challenges it faces as a “perfect storm”.
The last wind farms to receive subsidies, approved in 2015, will be completed this summer after the UK Government’s decision to stop payments to onshore wind. Scottish Renewables said this would have “enormous implications” for the supply chain and would have to reassess its revenue stream.
Ageing wind farms are coming to the end of their life-cycle, and have little support for replacement, with 10% of Scotland’s large wind farms reaching 20 years of age by 2025, which will make them ready for decommissioning, according to the industry representative. By 2030, this figure is set to rise to a third of onshore wind farms.
Jenny Hogan, deputy chief executive at Scottish Renewables, said: “Individually, these issues would be worrying. Together, they present a significant threat to continued development and to the growth of a sector which provides employment and investment while reducing carbon emissions.
“The Scottish government is raising planning fees for all renewable energy projects — in some cases by almost 680 per cent — while Ofgem is proposing changes to network charging which could heavily impact renewables.”