LONDON leaders have “pulled the rug out from under” Scotland’s renewables sector, Patrick Harvie has said.

The Scottish Greens co-convenor made the claim as he demanded the urgent hand-over of energy powers from Westminster to Holyrood in early 2020.

Despite Scotland’s renewables potential, providing 25% of total UK generation, the Edinburgh parliament has very little control over the sector, with authority over energy policy largely retained by the UK Government. The sector here was hit by Westminster decisions to slash support given to green energy production under the Tories and LibDems.

Official plans to encourage the take-up of small scale schemes including wind turbines and solar panels have been cut, as have measures targeting big energy producers.

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While a 2010 Scottish Government report predicted offshore wind would generate around 30,000 direct jobs by 2020. But with just a month to go until that year begins, the current figure is fewer than 2000.

Last week Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said the calculation had been based on “robust industry data” reflecting the state of the sector at that time.

And the UK Government has repeatedly defended its support for low carbon power generation.

But as temperatures in Scotland fell below zero yesterday, Harvie said: “Energy is one of the clearest ways in which Westminster is holding back Scotland’s capacity to tackle the climate emergency.

“Tory and Lib Dem governments pulled the rug out from under Scotland’s wind power progress, then they failed to back our enormous tidal potential.

Independence would best allow Scotland to grow and invest in the green industries we need, but in the meantime energy powers should urgently be devolved to the Scottish Parliament to allow the development of a progressive support scheme for renewables.

“Scotland should be able to direct investment and protect the renewables supply chain, creating new jobs in the sector as part of a Scottish Green New Deal.” With his party contesting 22 seats on December 12, Harvie argued that backing one of these candidates is “the clearest way” to demand change on the issue.

Harvie’s call follows a similar move by the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, who last month demanded that Westminster “get its act together” on green energy, saying: “Scotland is already a world-leader on tackling the climate crisis and delivering green energy. By contrast, Westminster has wasted years obsessing over nuclear power and a complete lack of vision and ambition over the energy technologies of the future. Put bluntly, there is no more time to waste.”