The European Commission has given the green light for developing a special subsidy
scheme to build wind farms in the islands.
The UK government axed all financial support for onshore turbines but intends to
make an exception for the Scottish islands.
A derogation depended upon state aid clearance from the EC to allow the government
to invite developers to bid for subsidies.
With confirmation the EC will not block funding support the next stage is to get
legislation through the House of Commons
None of the three large wind schemes planned for Lewis nor proposed clusters of community
turbines will be built without financial support to compensate for the high export
costs - up to seven times higher than from the Highlands - to send island generated
electricity to southern markets.
Without a subsidy developers would likely abandon plans for island windfarms with
the knock-on effect of scrapping a proposed subsea cable to export electricity to
The leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar hailed the EC clearance as a “welcome and
positive step forward.”
Cllr Roddie Mackay said it was a “critical milestone” for renewable energy projects
in the Outer Hebrides which “removes a key barrier to island projects being able
to compete” in the next subsidy round in 2019.
He added: “The comhairle has lobbied hard over the past number of years for the state
aid submission and it is gratifying to see the issue resolved.
“Over the next period we will continue to work closely with the Department for Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy around final definition of Remote Island Wind and
to ensure the best possible access to the 2019 auction for projects in the Scottish