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Serious questions need asked and answered following renewable technologies report, says Blair

Serious questions need asked and answered after an Audit Office report showed owners of some renewable technologies were being paid “excessive subsidies” from people’s electricity bills, Alliance MLA John Blair has said.

The report showed those who own standalone turbines and anaerobic digesters get higher payments than those in GB. It stated while they accounted for small amounts of power, they attracted a higher proportion of the available subsidy, saying “the financial return for some investors may have been more generous than it needed to be”.

“There is no doubt renewable energy is key in tackling rising greenhouse gas emissions, reducing air pollution and otherwise protecting our environment. But serious questions need asked and answered following this report,” said Mr Blair.

“We need to be clear if repeat mistakes were made regarding this scheme, particularly given the Audit Office’s findings of excessive subsidies being paid. Given our past experiences with schemes, however well-intentioned, costing the taxpayer more than they should have, an investigation needs to take place, with the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee well placed to do so.”