Scottish Government
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Rates relief saving renewables millions

New figures show the Scottish Government's business rates relief scheme for renewable energy generators has saved the industry around £4 million this year.

The scheme, the only one of its kind in the UK, offers discounts on business rates of up to 100 per cent. The relief, introduced in 2010, is stepped so that smaller renewables projects receive the highest level of discounts.

The figures, now available for the first time, show the relief has saved the renewables industry about £4 million in 2011-12, freeing up money to reinvest in the industry.

Currently around 85 renewable energy properties benefit from the relief - and around 50 of these qualify for 100 per cent relief and pay no business rates at all.

This targeted relief is just one part of the support offered to renewables through the business rates system. All offshore regeneration is completely exempted from rates, while micro-generation equipment, which encourages businesses to be energy self sufficient, is excluded from the valuation of a business property.

The news comes as Energy Minster Fergus Ewing prepares to address a major conference in Edinburgh on Wednesday on how landowners can get involved in renewables.

Mr Ewing said: "Scotland is leading the world in renewable energy, but if we are to reach our ambitious but achievable goal of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity requirements from renewables by 2020, we need businesses and landowners to invest in the technology.

"These new figures show the success of our measures to give rates relief for renewable energy generators and thanks to rates relief, four million pounds has been freed up this year for further investment in the development and deployment of green energy technologies.

"That underlines our desire to make Scotland world leader in renewables, secure new jobs and investment and retain Scotland's position as the most supportive environment for business in the UK."

Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables Niall Stuart said:

"The rates relief scheme is particularly important to small-scale developments, many of which are community-owned. These figures show that significant savings have been generated by the scheme for developers and communities to re-invest in other projects or local facilities and services.

"It is contributing to attracting investment to Scotland and an important part of the support for community projects as the Government seeks to deliver 500 Megawatts of community renewables developments by 2020."

The conference on Wednesday November 2 at Norton House Hotel, Ingliston, Edinburgh, Renewables and the Scottish Landscape - Opportunities and Threats, is organised by Saffery Champness, Turcan Connell and Savills.