Government Should Utilise Onshore Wind After Brexit, Says Hugh McNeal

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Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive of RenewableUK, has said onshore wind could receive more support following the news that Britain voted to leave the EU last week. He said the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit could strengthen the case for Government support of onshore wind.

Mr McNeal’s intervention follows comments by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor about the effects of a period of prolonged economic adjustment and the need for a clear plan for immediate financial stability.

Speaking at Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind Conference in Glasgow this morning, Mr McNeal acknowledged that “it is tempting in these unprecedented times, in the period of uncertainty and market volatility since the vote, to focus only on the challenges ahead. The fears are very real. The stakes very high, in terms of investment, jobs and consumer bills if we lose access to the European Energy Market.

RenewableUK’s CEO urged the industry audience to focus on new opportunities, stating that “it is precisely now, at this moment which is so unpredictable and uncertain, that I believe we should reflect on what we can offer; cheap, home-grown electricity able to deliver hundreds of millions of pounds of capital investment for our economy over the next few years, helping companies all over Britain just at a time when we need it most.

Mr McNeal reminded delegates that “there remains a pipeline of onshore wind plants that are ready to build now, ready to be financed; projects which can generate economic activity and capital investment, projects it makes sense to build given the benefits they will bring and the challenges we now face. 

He concluded that “it is vital that onshore wind retains an ability to compete and that it has “a route to market”. The offer is there. We now need to work to build a broad coalition, one that reaches out across industry, across all political parties, to help deliver it”.