July 29, 2015
Since 2006, Scotland has laid claim to being a world leader on climate change action. When the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and to have all our electricity come from renewable energy by the end of this decade, these legally binding targets were, and still are, considered to be unrivalled anywhere. And because Scotland’s wind and water belong to no one and everyone, and are in such plentiful supply, it has long been understood that at least some of the financial benefits should be for the common good. And to some extent that’s happened, with many communities developing their own energy projects. But this aspiration to be a global beacon of climate action has one major flaw – Scotland doesn’t actually control its energy policy. And this weakness has been painfully exposed by new UK Energy Minister, Amber Rudd, calling a premature end to the subsidy regime for renewable energy. This is such bad news on so many levels that its catastrophic impact on our sector could easily be overlooked – potentially £40m in lost revenue to communities over the next 20 years. And can anything be done about it? Not much, apparently.