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6th Report, 2009 (Session 3)

Subordinate Legislation

Remit and membership


To consider and report on the Scottish economy, enterprise, energy, tourism and all other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth apart from those covered by the remits of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change and the Local Government and Communities Committees.


Ms Wendy Alexander
Gavin Brown
Rob Gibson (Deputy Convener)
Christopher Harvie
Marilyn Livingstone
Lewis Macdonald
Stuart McMillan
Iain Smith (Convener)

Committee Clerking Team:

Clerk to the Committee
Stephen Imrie

Senior Assistant Clerk
Katy Orr

Assistant Clerk
Gail Grant

Subordinate Legislation

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

1. At its meeting on 10 June 2009, the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee considered the following affirmative instrument—

the draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009.

2. The details of the draft amendment Order and the explanatory notes can be found on the website of the Office of Public Sector Information1.


3. The Renewable Obligations (Scotland) Order (ROS) was first made in 2002 under powers contained in the Electricity Act 1989 and imposes an obligation on licensed electricity suppliers supplying electricity in Scotland to provide an increasing percentage of that supply from qualifying renewable energy sources.

4. Following reviews of its operation and to accommodate the introduction of a number of changes, the ROS has been revised and replaced or amended each April from 2004 through to 2008. The draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009 that was considered by the Committee proposes higher banding for wave and tidal generation.

Changes introduced by the proposed Amendment Order

5. Following a recommendation from the Committee, the Parliament approved the new Renewables Scotland (Order) in March 2009. The then Order introduced the concept of banding to the Obligation, a system which involves the award of different numbers of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) in respect of generation from different renewable technologies.

6. At the time, the Scottish Government was still awaiting state aid approval from the European Commission for the proposal to provide higher bands for wave and tidal generation in Scotland when the Committee recommended the Order be agreed to in Parliament in March 2009.

7. The European Commission’s formal approval was received in April 2009, and this short amendment Order is now being laid to introduce the higher bands.

8. The draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009 amends the earlier Order by inserting higher levels of support for ‘enhanced’ wave and tidal generation which is located in Scottish waters and has not received grant support from the Scottish or UK Governments and ensures that electricity generated from such sources is entitled to Scottish ROCs (SROC) as defined in the order:

  • Enhanced tidal stream          1 SROC per 1/3 megawatt hour
  • Enhanced wave                    1 SROC per 1/5 megawatt hour

Issues raised during the debate

9. During the debate, the Committee sought clarification on whether there would be a cap on the level of support for wave and tidal power in this Order. In his response, Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (“the Minister”) said that it was not the right time to establish a firm cap on the higher bands but that the ceiling may become an issue in time as capacity starts to build and ROC numbers start to have an effect on the wider obligations.

10. The Committee also asked the Minister to comment on the announcements made by the UK Government as part of its most recent budget to increase the ROCs on offer for offshore developments outwith Scotland. The Minister was asked how this situation would be reflected in Scotland. The Minster stated that the Scottish Government would maintain in close contact and dialogue with the UK Government and any actual changes at UK level would be subject to consultation.

11. A further issue raised by the Committee during the debate related to whether it was his intention to ensure that in Scotland, he matched the UK levels of development of offshore renewables being provided for by the UK Government. The Minister indicated that this had been his track record to date.

12. Finally, the Committee asked the Minster to reflect on the greater cost of developing deep sea and difficult sea areas and asked the Minster to give assurances that the ROCs would be kept under close scrutiny to see whether they reflected the real costs of these developments. The Minister said that the situation would be monitored closely going forward.

Subordinate Legislation Committee Report

13. The Subordinate Legislation Committee considered this instrument and agreed that no points arose in relation to the instrument2


14. After the debate had concluded, the Minister moved motion S3M-04202—

That the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee recommends that the draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009 be approved.

15. The motion was agreed to by the Committee.

Recommendation to the Parliament

16. As a result, the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee recommends that the draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009 be approved.


2 Subordinate Legislation Committee 29th Report 2009, 27 May 2009.