Renewables investment winded by government policy

Investment in UK wind power is expected to decline due to unfavourable investment conditions.

Although the UK saw £1.25bn of investment in the sector last year, a survey in RenewableUK's annual report found that 90 per cent of companies said government policy had become less favourable to renewables, compared to less than a quarter (23 per cent) in 2011.

Growth in the industry supported more than 30,000 new jobs in 2014, with Scotland attracting more than half of the construction projects for onshore wind farms and 70 per cent of consents for new schemes.

England was found to be lagging behind its northern neighbour with only 25 per cent of construction and less than 10 per cent of consents for projects.

However, the report found that England fared better for offshore wind projects, with coastal communities such as Lowestoft, Suffolk, and Grimsby, Lincolnshire, feeling the benefits.

Additionally, almost three quarters of respondents to the survey felt the UK’s investment climate was less favourable than in the previous 18 months with 42 per cent expecting to reduce investment.

RenewableUK's chief executive Maria McCaffery said: "We hope this report will serve as a wake-up call to Government, proving that the wind industry is delivering a substantial amount of clean power, investment and jobs to Britain - despite mixed messages from ministers.

"Ministers have stated that their objective is cutting carbon at the lowest cost to consumers, so it is difficult to understand why they are undermining investor confidence in the energy sector as a whole by announcing sudden unexpected changes in policy.

"This is especially true regarding onshore wind which is the lowest cost clean technology and is set to be cheaper than new gas by 2020, so it deserves to retain its place in our energy mix rather than being excluded from it."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "This report makes clear the important role that wind power plays in supporting jobs and the economy across the country.

"If Scotland and the UK are to cut carbon emissions and decarbonise the power sector, then it's vital that wind power be continued to be deployed here. However, just as critical is the urgent need to begin rolling out offshore wind in Scottish waters.

"This study underlines why we need to see continued political support for renewables both north and south of the border."

The government’s climate advisers recently called for new green policies to be introduced after it cut a number of existing policies over the summer.

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