Skip to main content

Renewable Energy: Scotland

Volume 672: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2020

The hon. Gentleman will know that we have many conversations across government. I have spoken with the Secretary of State for Scotland, as well as the Energy Minister in the devolved Administration. In fact, I spoke to colleagues just yesterday.

I for one would like to say how delighted I am that the Government have finally listened to the common-sense advice of Scottish National party Members on the issue of onshore renewable energy and contracts for difference, even if the delay has cost us five wasted years. Looking ahead, will the Minister ensure that the contracts for difference process is reformed to maximise growth and opportunities for the Scottish and UK supply chains, and how exactly will he go about doing that?

As the hon. Gentleman will know, we have been particularly successful in the offshore wind auctions, and we came to our conclusion not because of SNP lobbying, but because we felt that having a pot 1 auction was the best way to reach the net zero carbon target in a timely way by 2050.

It is important to put it on the record that not everyone in Scotland will welcome yesterday’s announcement, not least my constituents, who have more wind turbines—in sight or planned—than any other constituency in the United Kingdom. Given the ineffective planning system operated by the Scottish Government and their willingness to override local decision making, what reassurance can the Minister give my constituents that they will not to be overwhelmed by continuing wind farms?

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his question. We are very mindful of community consent and engagement with the planning process through consultation periods. We are also ensuring that the planning regime is robust. On balance, it was felt that we needed to make a move on this pot 1 auction in order to reach the target.