Scottish Renewables calls on government to release fossil levy money

SCOTLAND: Trade association Scottish Renewables is calling on the UK's chancellor Alistair Darling to release the £174 million currently sitting in the Scottish Fossil Fuel Levy fund so it can be ploughed back into the renewables sector and help tackle climate change.

UK chancellor of the exchequer Alastair Darling

The fund was raised by a charge on consumers to pay for renewables projects supported under the now defunct UK Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation.

That system has been replaced with auctions for Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and capacity under the Scottish Renewables Obligation (SRO), meaning SRO projects are no longer a drain on consumers.

The Treasury though has netted a tidy profit--the millions of pounds sitting in both the Scottish and England and Wales funds has long been a bone of contention between the renewables industry and the Treasury.

"It is unacceptable for the Scottish Fossil Fuel Levy to remain unspent at this critical time in the development of the renewable energy industry," says Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables.

"We want to see the fund allocated to support renewable energy development, as it is intended to do, without impacting on other public spending in Scotland."

The money could support development of commercial-scale wave and tidal devices, construction of infrastructure for offshore wind, development of local heat schemes, and innovations in the electricity grid, he says.