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13th August 2015 | Author: Chris Sutor 

Amber Rudd has been roundly criticised by ministers in the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland. The changes in renewable energy and particularly in Solar PV were remarked upon in a joint letter from the Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing and Welsh Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant. The letter said that the cuts will “significantly damage” efforts to increase the number of community energy programmes in the two nations.

The letter focused on the decision to cut Renewables Obligation support for sub-5MW solar farms and end small-scale feed-in tariff pre-accreditation. Whilst the long-term future looks less certain throughout the industry, the fear expressed by Ewing and Sargeant was of problems caused to community and communally owned generation that often lack the finance to proceed and are more risk adverse.

The minister’s fear that the freeze on pre-accreditation on 22nd July could cause a loss of capacity in the supply chain as well as an increased potential for job losses in the solar sector.

Sargeant also raised the issue of the Welsh Government’s commitment to improving the environment as set out in the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act. The regulation demands that Welsh public bodies act in a sustainable way. It raises the possibility that the Cardiff Bay Assembly could meet some of the obligation in reference to public sector investments as the economic and climate impacts lie within the devolved remits.

Whilst we shouldn’t overlook the possibilities of political point scoring (the ministers in question are members of the Labour Party and the SNP) their comment do chime with those in the industry who have warned of this potential issue.

For more on this story read the letter from the minsters in full here.

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