An assurance has been sought from the UK Government that industrial onshore
wind will not be promoted over other forms of renewable energy.
During questions to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and
Industrial Strategy, Borders MP John Lamont said: “I very much support
renewable energy but many of my constituents in the Scottish Borders feel
we have our fair share of onshore wind.
“So can the Minister assure me that nothing in Government policy will
promote onshore wind farm development over other forms of renewable energy?”
In response, Minister for Clean Energy, Claire Perry MP responded: “That is
exactly the point of technology neutrality,” referring to the UK Government
policy that as many forms of renewable energy as possible should be allowed
to bid for Government support to avoid supporting one type of energy over
Earlier on during the session, Ms Perry had pointed out that the UK
Conservative Government was elected on a manifesto pledge that further
subsidies for large scale onshore wind projects were not necessary.
The exchange comes after a series of controversial large scale wind farm
applications in the Scottish Borders, and concerns that a number of wind
farm applications have been refused at local authority level only for that
decision to be overturned on appeal to the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government’s position is that: “The Scottish Government is
committed to taking full advantage of our twenty five per cent share in
Europe’s wave and wind power capacity. We are determined to get rid of
harmful emissions from our environment while capitalising on the vast
economic opportunities our natural advantage in renewable energy poses.
“Ministers expect new onshore wind developments to continue to contribute
to renewables targets in the coming years, but only in the right places
where the planning system decides they should be granted consent, and as
part of a wide range of other renewable technologies.
“It is not the case that wind farms can be built simply anywhere without
regard to wildlife or scenery.”
Scottish Power’s chief executive, Keith Anderson, believes onshore wind
energy is best in Scotland, reportedly telling the Daily Mail last weekend
that Scotland had the best wind in Northern Europe and there is not enough
wind or the scale of suitable land in England to make new projects