Small-scale hydro developer Green Highland Renewables has generated £55 million for the Highland economy so far this year but warns feed-in tariff cuts will end to development.
The Perth-based company, which has invested more than £117 million in the Highland economy since 2010, is on track to commission ten new projects across the north of Scotland in the coming months, all of which have secured feed-in tariffs.
Green Highland Renewables said it plans to invest a further £13.6 million in a hydro scheme at Loch Eilde Mor in 2017 alongside nine other projects in the area for a total investment of around £40 million.
Chief executive Mark Mathieson said the UK Government's announcement last year it will cut tariffs on hydro development “means there will be near to zero new Highland schemes coming forward for construction from 2018 onwards”. He added: “We expect 80% of all hydro jobs will be gone by 2020.”
The UK Government announced last December is has revised down Feed-In Tariff (FIT) rates for electricity generated from solar, wind, hydro and anaerobic digestion to 4.39 pence per Kilowatt hour (kWh).
Said Kenneth Gibson:
“Only last year hydro feed-in tariff rates for schemes below a capacity of 15 kilowatts was 21.12 pence per kWh and for capacities up to 100 kilowatts was 19.72 pence per kWh. Such drastic reductions impact on the ability of Scotland to develop clean, green renewable technologies. Meanwhile, money seems to be no object in taking forward the astronomically expensive and unproven nuclear technology approved at Hinkley Point.
“If the UK Tory Government is serious about renewables, it should reconsider its feed-in tariff cuts, which are across all renewable technologies and can only impact adversely on the development of renewables and the employment that goes with it.”