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Scotland to align green energy laws with England
LONDON (Reuters) - The Scottish government launched two public consultations on Wednesday aimed at bringing its small-scale green project planning and renewable rewards laws in line with those in the rest of the United Kingdom.
The energy ministry is proposing to give decision-making for onshore hydro schemes to local authorities, adapting Scottish regulation to the rules already in place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
"This will encourage developers to size their scheme appropriate to its environment and not be deterred by a low threshold," said Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather.
The new process will also cut costs at the ministerial level and ultimately make it cheaper for developers to build new projects, a ministry spokesman said.
The second of two consultations, which will run until the end of December, is aimed at bringing renewable incentives in line with regulation implemented by the national government's Department of Energy and Climate Change.
The consultation is seeking feedback from the public on questions such as whether to leave the reward for wave and tidal power generation at five and three renewable obligation certificates (ROCs), respectively.
"The Scottish Government understands and shares the common view regarding the importance of consistency between and across the UK Renewable Obligations. We wish as always to retain that consistency as far as possible," the government said in a statement.
Depending on the outcome of parliamentary procedures and the consultation, the new laws are expected to come into effect next year, the energy ministry spokesman said.
Scotland holds around 25 percent of Europe's offshore wind and tidal power generation resources, making the region vital for Britain to meet its 2020 renewable electricity demand target of 15 percent.
Reports have shown that by 2050, Britain's offshore wind, tidal and wave resources could produce as much energy as the average annual output of the UK North Sea oil and gas industry. [ID:nLDE64H21J] (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Alison Birrane)
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