Minister takes island case to London

Fergus Ewing at the Island Summit in Stornoway last month.
Fergus Ewing at the Island Summit in Stornoway last month.

Recent progress to connect renewable energy projects on the Scottish Islands must be sustained, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will tell Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey at a meeting today (Thursday).

Following on from last month’s Island Summit of key stakeholders in Stornoway, Mr Ewing will call for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to give prospective developers certainty on the level and availability of support – a key requirement for the development of vital network upgrades.

Commenting on the meeting, Mr Ewing said:

“It is clear both the Scottish Government and the UK Government want to see the islands achieve their massive renewable energy potential.

“More than a decade after attempts began to connect significant renewable energy projects on the Scottish Islands recent progress must be sustained to achieve a positive result,

“And while I welcome the enhanced support announced recently by the Secretary of State back in December, success will be judged solely on whether the long-awaited high voltage connections are finally realised.

“The DECC need to address the key remaining issues that stand in the way of progress.

“In order for these long-lead time projects to be developed, those involved need to know that the right level of support will be available when it is required. If Mr Davey can give these commitments, we will greatly increase our chances of success.”

The independent Baringa report, commissioned jointly by the Scottish and UK Governments, demonstrated the massive potential of the Scottish islands to deliver clean and cost-effective energy to households on the mainland and support Scotland’s status as a world leader in marine energy technologies.

Since the inter-government group was established in October 2012 there has been a CfD uplift of £115/MWh uplift for island onshore compared to £90/MWh for the mainland). The group has committed to look at an uplift for island marine post-2018/19 in the second delivery plan.

By 2030 renewable generation could help create 3500 full time jobs on the Western Isles, almost 2900 in Shetland, over 4500 on Orkney and a further 29,000 elsewhere in the UK