The UK Government’s policies have been a disaster for onshore wind and
solar, but remarkably effective in reducing cost of offshore wind, writes
Dr Richard Dixon.
A general election used to be a vital opportunity for the environment
movement but since 1999 the Scottish Parliament has controlled most of the
things that make a difference on the environment and climate change, from
air quality standards and transport policy to agricultural subsidies and
energy efficiency in buildings.
So is there much left to get excited about? Brexit is, of course, the main
issue that will determine how many people cast their vote.
Leaving the EU is likely to be very bad for the environment as we face the
threat of the UK Government trying to weaken environmental and consumer
protections to do dodgy trade deals with the US, and we lose the
opportunity to go the European courts to challenge government decisions
with major negative impacts on the environment.
The other big area that affects us all is energy policy including the
future of North Sea oil and gas.
In Scotland, we have our own renewables and energy efficiency targets, and
we are due a revised energy strategy next year, but a great deal of energy
policy is controlled by the UK Government, including the crucial rules of
the energy market, which determines the viability of different generating
This has been disastrous in recent years for onshore wind and solar energy
but remarkably effective in reducing the cost of offshore wind. So much so
that it is now much cheaper than new nuclear power.