Ruth Mitchell

Don’t cut subsidies, say Energi Coast

A group of leading energy companies in the North East have urged the Chancellor to make offshore wind a priority to help the UK establish itself as a world leader in the sector.

Ahead of the Budget next week, Energi Coast have voiced their concern that any changes to subsidies received by the industry will put further pressure on the sector, which is currently at a critical stage of development.

Offshore wins has previously been targeted by opposition groups, who believe that cutting subsidies to the sector could be a way of saving money.

The Group believes that the Chancellor needs to create a climate of stability in the offshore wind market, to offset the disruption caused by the surprise taxes on North Sea oil and gas projects announced in the 2011 Budget.

Alex Dawson, Chairman of Energi Coast, said: “The offshore wind industry is not looking for hand outs, but an equitable and stable environment during this significant period in its development.

“As an emerging industry we have been made an easy target, but subsidies are a tried and tested practice for the energy sector.

“No energy sector has developed without subsidy, be they direct transfer, preferential tax treatments or research and development intervention.”

If subsidies were reduced further, there is a danger that they could further damage confidence and immediately affect the plans of developers, investors and potential supply chain investors.

The difficult economic climate has given anti-wind protesters a platform to voice their opinions, but support for wind farms has remained consistent at around 70-80%

Mr Dawson continued: “If the Government listens to reactionary opposition they could lose a sector that has the potential to be a jewel in the country’s industrial crown.

“The Chancellor has said the Government should manufacture its way out of recession. In offshore wind they have a golden, once in a lifetime opportunity to build a world leading industry that creates real jobs, a sustainable energy resource and future tax revenues for UK PLC.”

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