The Informer

Smaller renewable energy schemes are facing increases in business rates of up to 650%, according to trade body Scottish Renewables.

A relief scheme that was introduced by the Scottish Government to assist generators ended in 2015 and a replacement has not been introduced.

Hannah Smith, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “We acknowledge that business rates are a normal part of any company’s expenditure, but the leap in costs is causing many of our members significant concern.

“It is unrealistic to expect a company of any size to absorb increases of this scale overnight, particularly in the context of the likely Feed-in Tariff closure in 2019, which has already made it harder to justify investment in new projects.”

‘Devastating impact’

Developer GreenPower, which has a 500kW run-of-river hydro project near Kinloch Rannoch in Perthshire, could see its rates bill rise by £24,500 per year, an increase of 154%.

James Simpson, Finance Director of GreenPower, said: “These planned increases will have a devastating impact on our business and its future ambitions.

“We had hoped to employ someone to help us maintain the site over its lifetime but we cannot make that kind of commitment when so much of our capital will be spent on rates.”

> See Scottish Renewables' position paper