Concern for Islands’ energy cable upgrade

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Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil has expressed his concern for the energy cable upgrade (interconnector) to connect Isles’ electricity generation projects to the mainland grid, following the news that only two out of the three local renewable energy projects have been awarded a Contracts for Difference (CfD).

The UK Government’s mechanism for supporting low-carbon electricity generation is the Contracts for Difference (CfD), which have been awarded to two developers in the Outer Hebrides - Muaitheabhal Wind Farm (Eishken) and Druim Leathann Windfarm (Tolsta). However, a large development - Stornoway Wind Farm, has not achieved a CfD.

Mr MacNeil said: “Whilst it is good news that two Lewis wind farms have been successful in CfD Round 3 it is disappointing that Stornoway Wind Farm (being driven forward by Lewis Wind Power) has not achieved a CfD.

“The strike price of between £39 -£41 is exceedingly low and this combined with the failure of Lewis Wind Power to make the list raises questions about the viability of a Hebridean Interconnector.

“At just 240 MW the two successful applications, Tolsta and Eishken, are well below the 369-400MW needed for the Interconnector to the mainland.

“Orkney and Shetland fared no better with Orkney’s two successful applications reaching only 37MW of the 135MW needed and Shetland seeing no successful applications at all.

“Scottish Islands have the best wind resources in Europe and this is a missed opportunity.

“This is not good news for the UK’s move from carbon to cleaner energy.

“While young people campaign all over the country to protect the climate the UK government fail again to make best use of our natural resources.

“It would appear that far from working together Ofgem and the UK Government have no joined up thinking and appear to have competing aims.

“I have already spoken to SSE this morning and I will also be contacting Ofgem.

“At this stage it is unclear what impact this decision will have on Island renewables, but is undoubtedly disappointing for those unsuccessful applicants.

“The UK Government and Ofgem have to get their act together if decarbonisation is to successfully happen.”