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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Whiteford Warns UK Government Uncertainty Could Put Offshore Wind Industry At Risk

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Local MP Eilidh Whiteford has warned that uncertainty caused by UK Government policy could put the offshore wind industry in jeopardy, putting at risk the potential to create a substantial number of jobs in Scotland as well as clean, sustainable energy.

The SNP MP was speaking in a debate earlier today on the future of the industry due to the impact of the current Contract For Difference (CfD) regime.

Speaking in the debate Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“I have a strong constituency interest in the development of offshore wind energy, in that one of the projects bidding for support in the first allocation round of contract for difference is based in the Moray Firth.

“Several of the ports along the Moray Firth could benefit from the development of offshore renewables, with significant potential spin-offs for a wider supply chain bringing much-needed economic development to the area. I am sure other coastal communities also have the potential to benefit from such economic diversification, which is key to the future prosperity of such communities. In the north-east, there is also an understanding that the skills utilised in the offshore oil and gas sector are eminently transferrable to the offshore renewables industry, as well as a sense that we should grasp the opportunities to develop new and innovative technologies on our doorstep by building on our existing strengths.

“Today’s debate takes place in the context of energy market reform. We should always remember that that is not only about keeping the lights on, bringing consumer prices under control and repairing a broken system, but about climate change and the need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and to mitigate, or adapt to, the effects of climate change that are already manifest.”

Dr Whiteford urged the UK Government to make a clear declaration of support for the industry, stating:

“Developers need confidence for forward investment decisions. The UK Government needs to make it clear they will continue to support offshore wind.

“There’s a grave danger that the UK Government will pull the rug out from under a fledgling industry before it has a chance to establish itself, and other countries will develop the technologies that could bring investment and jobs to Scottish coastal communities.”

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