Feb 14 (Renewables Now) - Scottish Renewables warns that the business rates revaluation in Scotland is threatening future small wind, solar and hydro projects as the increase in the tax on business property is too steep and too sudden.
The industry body said last week that for some very small hydropower systems, the difference between the current rateable value and the provisional rateable value for 2017 would be as high as 650%. For some small wind systems, Scottish Renewables calculates a hike of up to 278%.
To show how the revaluation affects investment, Scottish Renewables cited James Simpson, finance head of GreenPower, as saying his company would have to think twice about expanding its portfolio and building new hydro and wind power plants in Scotland. GreenPower has a 500-kW run-of-river hydro project in Perthshire, which could see its annual rates bill grow by 154%.
The organisation has written to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay uring the Scottish Government to extend its renewable energy rates relief scheme to cover small-scale, commercial green power installations, to ensure appropriate relief to district heating schemes, and to reconsider the decision not to introduce transitional relief.
Draft rateable values were published by the Scottish Assessors’ Association in December 2016. A review of the reform is in progress.
“We urgently need the Scottish Government to intervene on this issue to ensure that renewable energy rates are proportionate and affordable and don’t undermine future investment,” said Hannah Smith, policy manager at Scottish Renewables.