Pressure is continuing to build on the UK government’s renewables policy after Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing called for greater certainty regarding the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
As part of the UK government’s environmental programme, the RHI offers financial incentives to promote the use of renewable heat. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has yet to confirm if the scheme will continue after March 2016, which Ewing claims is causing considerable uncertainty within the renewables sector.
The minister claims UK indecision is already causing capital investment to be delayed until the future of the scheme is decided, and has written to energy secretary Amber Rudd calling for urgent clarification.
Ewing said: “The Scottish Government believes that development of a sustainable renewable heat industry will be a key factor in helping Scotland meet its climate change targets and provides huge business opportunities.
“Our target remains challenging and will require us to use all the levers at our disposal, particularly the RHI. Without continuation of the Renewable Heat Incentive, or a substantive replacement, there will be a substantial impact of renewable heat businesses and jobs in technologies, with disastrous results for the future of these Scottish businesses.
“The uncertainty from the UK government has been going on too long now and it is time to provide clarity for this industry.”
The Scottish government has set a target of 11% of non-electrical heat demand to come from renewable sources by 2020.
Ewing has been a staunch critic of the UK energy policy following months of policy change at DECC. Most recently he accused the government of complacency after a shortfall in energy caused the National Grid to issue an urgent request for more electricity.
The Scottish minister’s latest call to Westminster follows a leaked document which revealed that DECC is due to miss its 2020 carbon reduction targets for both heat and transport. Speaking to the Energy and Climate Change (ECC) Committee last week, Amber Rudd claimed the “right policies are not in place” and suggested changes to the RHI may be underway.
By David Pratt.