Scottish Business, Innovation & Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse has warned investment and jobs in the hydro electricity industry are “under threat” from UK Government subsidy cuts.

Wheelhouse said hydro generation hit a record high of 5.78TWh in 2015, up 6.3% year-on-year.

He also highlighted the potential for pumped storage hydro to store energy generated by renewables.

But he said the Scottish and UK governments needed to work closer together to extend pumped storage.

‘Real support’

Wheelhouse said: “The hydro sector is at a crossroads, with a number of exciting developments opening, but with some future investments, especially in small scale hydro, at risk due to changes in subsidies, brought in by the UK Government, putting jobs at risk in many rural communities.

“As well as being able to further support peak demand, expanded pumped hydro storage would also be able to effectively store greater levels of electricity at times when renewable energy output is high but demand is low.

“However, this part of the hydropower industry requires substantial government support – not the kind of extra hurdles that changes in subsidies from the UK Government have put in place.

“That is why I am using this visit to urge the UK Government to do all that is can to support the real and continued potential in this energy resource.”

> See the Scottish Government's statement