Contact newsdesk on:

Classified adverts   I   Jobs                               

Small Ads & Local Services    


Hebrides News


UK energy minister, Greg Clark, is to visit the Western Isles just before he announces reveals a crucial decision which could make or break the Western Isles’ renewable industry.


At stake is an estimated £144 million economic boost over the next 25 years, say wind farm supporters.


Some 10,000 jobs could be created by 2030 by tapping into the massive renewable energy sources in Scotland's islands according to a joint UK and Scottish Government study.


The local renewable sector is hugely dismayed at the UK Government’s refusal of giving subsidies to onshore turbine projects in the Western Isles.


That came as a shock given the strongly upbeat signals an exception would be made for the Western and Northern Isles.


Financial support is sought to compensate for the high cost - up to seven times higher than from the Highlands -

of exporting island generated electricity to the south .


Public financial assistance to all land-based windfarms has stopped, with the government “making it clear” the country has enough onshore turbines to meet targets.


However, Greg Clark excluded the islands from this year’s allocation scheme which takes place in April, saying the focus should now be on technologies like turbines at sea.


He did offer a final glimmer of hope for the Western Isles wind renewable industry by opening another consultation on whether onshore turbine projects on remote islands should be treated differently.


The catch is that he demands “new evidence or strong justification” and seems to be seeking different arguments to that submitted to a similar consultation in 2013.

If no distinct case for the islands succeeds then proposed windfarms - including plans for community schemes - plus the planned Minch interconnector are extremely unlikely to proceed.


MP Angus MacNeil said Greg Clark plans to visit the islands in late February or early March to “discuss the way forward and possibilities.”


The MP added: “Obviously with the consultation ongoing the ministers have to remain tight-lipped at the moment and it is difficult to say what the outcome will be, but with the Secretary of State planning to visit the islands, it will at least give interested parties an opportunity to state their case.”


Meanwhile, Mr MacNeil and MSP, Alasdair Allan, discussed the situation with representatives from island community energy groups. With the local grid unable to take on any more output from island turbines proposals for future community wind developments hang on the threatened subsea cable going ahead.




Government minister who could wipe out Western Isles’ £144 million renewable industry to visit isles

19 January 2017

Greg Cark