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Hebrides News


The UK Government must recognise the vital importance of island renewables to the UK energy market, Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said today ahead of talks with his UK counterpart in Stornoway.


Mr Wheelhouse and UK Energy Secretary, Greg Clark,  will co-chair the fifth meeting of the Scottish Islands Renewables Delivery Forum.


Discussions will focus on the UK Government’s recent consultation which back-tracked on support for wind projects on the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland. The development of proposed major projects alone would trigger initial investment of £2.5 billion said the Scottish Government.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “The planned projects on the Western and Shetland Isles would face extremely high locational transmission charges to provide electricity to the mainland.


“That is why an appropriate support mechanism is so important to help unlock very significant capital investment from the private sector and community-owned developers as well as, in turn, underpinning the investment case to National Grid for vital islands grid connections. Bringing this positive scenario about, as quickly as possible, will be at the heart of my discussions with Mr Clark.


Isles’ MP Angus Macneil, who is also taking part in the discussions, said: “If Scotland was ruled by another country out wind resource would be recognised and seized upon. But we are ruled by London where austerity has been the modus operandi for a number of years which has led to a very slow recovery compared to Iceland and Ireland.”


The UK government “thinks of investment being a cost rather than an earning for the future.”


Mr Macneil added: “I’ve known Greg Clark for a number of years and he definitely knows energy.”


But “there is a tension between his understanding and the constraints of austerity chosen by the UK government.”"


“I can only hope Greg Clark will win out and we will see the islands being included in the contract for different subsidy round to allow development of our huge wind resource.”



Energy projects worth £2.5 billion at risk

10 April 2017