The Scottish renewables industry has taken another hit, with the news that wind turbine manufacturer Gaia-Wind has gone into liquidation.
Martin Paterson of Gaia-Wind has placed much of the blame at the door of the British government, telling Environment Journal that the handling of the feed-in tariff scheme has been ‘catastrophic and bungled, with no regard to businesses.’
With the Conservative government removing subsidies for on shore wind farms in 2015, the wind industry has been urging the government to start a long-promised consultation on the future of the feed-in tariff, which supports small-scale renewables.
This is currently set to close to new applicants in March 2019, and the absence of any clarity on future policy is now having a serious impact on wind and solar companies and their investors.
Mr Paterson believes this has directly led to the closure of other small-scale renewables businesses such as Gaia.
Mr Paterson added: ‘The UK government position on support for small scale energy has been diametrically opposed to the Scottish government’ with firms north of the border ‘not listened to’ by Westminster.
‘Gaia is the latest in a long line of companies to go under due to a complete mishandling by the UK government’ – Martin Paterson, Gaia-Wind
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial strategy has responded to Environment Journal by saying that ‘support for business in Scotland is a devolved policy area, so Scottish government would lead on any support for the company re the liquidation.’
They added: ‘Our support for small scale renewables is a UK success story – with £100m of funding for small scale renewables being made available between 2016 and 2019. We are committed to the growth of the renewable energy sector – which already provides 25% of the electricity for the UK.
‘However – UK consumers are funding this investment through their energy bills – and as the costs of renewable technologies have fallen it is right that government subsidies have reduced in line with this to make sure we have a sustainable funding model now and into the future.’
Gaia-Wind opened its factory in Glasgow in 2011 and has manufactured nearly 2,000 small wind turbines – not only for the UK market, but also exporting hundreds of the them to other parts of Europe, the USA, Japan, and as far afield as Tonga in Polynesia.