THE chief executive of Scottish Power Renewables has accused the UK Government of being “allergic” to onshore wind power.

Keith Anderson was speaking at the All-Energy 2017 conference in Glasgow, where Nicola Sturgeon said plans to generate half of all Scotland’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 showed it was already a world leader in the sector.

Mr Anderson, who is also chief corporate officer for Scottish Power, told delegates that the Conservatives’ plan to cap energy prices addressed the symptoms and not the cause of the issues facing the energy industry.

He said that the inclusion of energy as one of the ten pillars of the UK Government’s industrial strategy was to be welcomed, but “that part of the industrial strategy was transformed way beyond being a strategy and quite clearly turned into an election campaign and policy pledge”.

He added that he agreed with the government that the Competition and Markets Authority hadn’t done enough to protect energy customers, but the government needed to examine the entire sector and its supply chain, “not just try to fix everything by fixing energy prices”.

Telling delegates at the SEC Centre that the majority of Scottish Power’s 5.4 million retail customers wanted onshore energy, he said: “Onshore wind is the cheapest form of renewable energy, it’s been hugely successful right across the whole of the UK and particularly in Scotland, yet we appear to have a UK government that is allergic to onshore wind and we don’t really know why and they aren’t very good at explaining their reasons.”

He added: “If like us, this government truly wants clean energy in the most cost effective way for the benefit of customers then surely, like us, they must know that onshore wind has to be part of the future of the UK energy sector.”

Speaking after the opening day plenary session, at which he spoke alongside the First Minister, Mr Anderson said the only way to create competition and drive down prices for consumers was to abolish the standard variable rate by setting targets for the gradual reduction of customers on such tariffs. “It will increase competition and save much more than the much bandied-about £100 for families,” he said.

The First Minister also accused the Conservative Government of falling short in its commitment to renewable energy, telling delegates: “The UK Government’s support for renewables seems to come second to investment in new nuclear power stations.”

Ms Sturgeon outlined her government’s “hugely ambitious” target of generating half of Scotland’s energy needs through renewables by 2030. The number – which encompasses electricity, heat and transport – is currently 15 per cent.

“Our aim is crystal clear – we want renewable sources to play the major role in meeting Scotland’s energy needs,” she said, highlighting that Scotland was emerging as a world leader in low carbon and renewable energy.

“Across wind, wave and tidal, not to mention hydro and solar, Scotland’s renewable sector really is a global leader and by setting a new energy target we are ensuring that continues and that all of us can reap the benefits,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon also said the skills and experience of the oil and gas sector could contribute to the success of the low carbon energy future, and added that the Scottish Government remained committed to the North Sea industry.

“Alongside renewables it is important that we continue to support our oil and gas sector,” she said. “During the low carbon transition, hydrocarbons will continue to meet the world’s energy needs so a secure supply of oil and gas will be an important part of Scotland’s energy mix for a long time to come.”