THE Scottish and Westminster governments remain on a collision course over the Tories’ decision to bring forward by a year the end to subsidies for the onshore wind industry.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing met Amber Rudd, the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, in London yesterday morning and invited her to

Scotland to discuss the impact of the UK Government’s decision to end onshore wind subsidies under the Renewables Obligation (RO). A spokesman for Rudd said last night that the minister had accepted the invitation and would meet Ewing in Scotland later in the year.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also written to the Prime Minister asking him to “look again at the impact these proposals will have on the Scottish and the wider UK economy and find an alternative approach.”

But Cameron was certainly in no mood for conciliation at Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday. When SNP Trade and Investment spokesperson and National columnist Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh said that last week’s announcement had signalled that Scotland was “closed” for renewable energy investment, Cameron replied: “If Scotland wasn’t part of the United Kingdom there wouldn’t be this access to the UK energy market.

“We have got a huge increase in renewable energy right across the United Kingdom in recent years. What we have done is remove some of the subsidy from onshore wind because we are going to reach 10 per cent of our energy from onshore wind and now it should be for local communities to make that decision.”

Yesterday morning, Rudd announced that there would be gradual reductions in the subsides for offshore wind development, a move which will also affect Scotland.

She told the RenewablesUK conference in London that there had been great progress in offshore wind technologies – Britain now has the largest offshore wind capacity in the world – but warned “there is no bottomless pit of bill-payer support for low carbon”.

Rudd said: “Government support must help technologies eventually stand on their own two feet, not encourage a permanent reliance on subsidy. Cost must come down, subsidies must be progressively reduced.

“We have a responsibility to keep costs to consumers down, because only by keeping costs down will we maintain public support for the action we are taking to bring down carbon emissions and combat climate change.”

Last week’s announcement by Rudd that the RO for onshore wind would end in April 2016 and not a year after that was met with howls of outrage by the Scottish renewables industry whose trade body claimed it could cost “£3 billion investment in Scotland”.

On Tuesday, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Scotland) said the decision “puts as many as 3,000 full-time jobs at risk, particularly in remote areas where alternative employment is hard to find”.

In the Holyrood Parliament on Tuesday, Ewing accused his UK counterpart of “utter folly” and of setting a “terrible example” to the world, as well as “undermining trust” in energy investment in the UK and costing Scotland £46m in community benefits.

Yesterday, he urged Rudd to meet with developers and communities who have invested significant amounts of money in renewables schemes “and have now found the goalposts have been moved.”

Ewing, who had also attended the same conference as Rudd, said: “The decision taken by the UK Government to close the Renewables Obligation early for the onshore wind sector will have a negative impact on the renewables industry in Scotland and potentially on the thousands of people who work in it.

“The Scottish Government has been clear that onshore wind should be able to compete with other technologies through the ‘contracts for difference’ auction. To prevent the cheapest technologies from competing in the auction will not deliver the best price for the consumer and I have asked the UK Government to provide clarity on this issue which is causing anxiety to the industry.

“During our meeting this morning, I also invited the Secretary of State to Scotland this summer to meet with the industry and developers. Since it was announced I have met with key representatives from the industry to listen to their concerns about the impact on both developers and the supply chain.

“I reiterated these points this morning during the meeting and stressed how important it was for the Scottish Government to be involved in how any changes to the Renewables Obligation are developed, including maximum flexibility around grace periods for developments that could be affected. This is especially important as the decision will have a disproportionate impact on Scotland as around 70 per cent of onshore wind projects affected by the UK Government policy change are located here.”