Comahirle leader, Angus Campbell, is holding talks with senior government officials,
arguing the UK government should award subsidies to island windfarms.
Plans for commercial windfarms and community turbines in the islands will be killed
off without financial support to offset significant transmission charges.
Angus Campbell is in London, making the case for the Western Isles renewable energy
The SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties in London show “positive commitment”
and are willing to proactively support the island’s case, he said.
The UK government has axed public subsidies to onshore windfarms and the council
is seeking a special exception for the Scottish islands.
None of the three large wind schemes planned for Lewis nor clusters of community
owned turbines will proceed without the financial support to offset high transmission
charges to export electricity to mainland markets.
Neither would a subsea cable be built across the Minch, halting plans for more community
wind schemes to hook into the interconnector.
In all, investment plus local community benefit adding up to £709 million is at risk,
according to a recent study by developer, EDF.
Angus Campbell outlined the transformational economic benefits that could be achieved
by the establishment of a renewables industry in the Outer Hebrides, as well as outlining
the significant benefits to the UK consumer of tapping into low-cost, clean, green
energy from the islands.
Cllr Campbell said he is “heartened” by the quality of submissions to a consultation
over a possible islands’ exception.
“Virtually every respondent understood the benefits to be achieved from wind energy
and the need for an inter-connector to achieve that potential.
“There was a high level of understanding around the need for large commercial projects
to underwrite and fund the significant cost of the inter-connector.
“The vast majority of respondents clearly understood that the local grid is at full
capacity and that without an inter-connector no project - be they commercial or community
- will proceed in the Outer Hebrides.”
Cllr Campbell said: "There is a window of opportunity over the next few weeks, as
the government comes to a conclusion on the island wind consultation, to press the
case for a Hebridean energy industry. I will be taking every opportunity to make
“I, like the vast majority of respondents to the recent consultation, believe that
large scale inter-connection to the national grid is the only credible and realistic
to achieve that ambition. The most positive way forward is to work together to achieve
the big renewables win that the Outer Hebrides public deserves."
“I would therefore urge anyone who believes in the potential of renewable energy
and who has the future economic interests of the Outer Hebrides at heart to join
us in making a positive case to government.”
Comhairle in talks with government over future of energy for the islands