Step forward for green power with announcement

Both Scottish and UK governments have given fresh impetus to renewable energy developments in  Shetland following a meeting of the Scottish Island Delivery Forum.

The event in Edinburgh was chaired jointly by Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, and Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing on Thursday.

The UK and Scottish Governments reaffirmed their continued support and joint endeavour towards delivering the huge renewable energy potential of the Scottish islands.

Viking Energy development manager Aaron Priest, who attended the meeting, said later:

“Yesterday’s meeting was very significant and both governments remain supportive of the development of world-class renewable energy resources in the islands.

“The Secretary of State provided a strong indication of how the UK government intends to roll out the separate island strike price for onshore wind and reiterated both governments’ commitment to overcome any barriers to electricity interconnectors to the islands.

“This is another important step for the delivery of substantial benefits to Shetland via the unique community ownership that exists in the Viking wind farm project.”

Mr Davey said Westminster would bring forward the setting of the minimum “strike” price from next year to July this year.

Westminster will apply to the European Union for state aid approval to allow a lower strike price for the isles to be introduced as soon as possible, allowing the Viking wind farm and other island-based renewable projects to progress to the next stage of putting together an investment package.

In addition, agreement was reached between the two Governments to continue joint efforts to progress a research and development funding proposal to secure future grid access for marine technologies on Orkney.

Fergus Ewing addresses the crowd in Sandwick. Photo: Peter Johnson
According to Fergus Ewing the announcement is a huge boost. Photo: Peter Johnson

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing said: “Yesterday’s meeting of the Scottish Island Renewables Delivery Forum has secured the most significant progress for the islands since the Delivery Forum was established after my proposal in June 2014. I am delighted that the UK and Scottish Governments have agreed a joint statement of intent, and that the Secretary of State has committed to publishing important information in July on availability of support.

“This announcement will be a huge boost for developers, and of course for the island councils who have pushed hard to secure this commitment. It signals a clear demonstration of political will that the transmission owner and the regulator have stated is necessary to progress the case for the island grid links.

“I have made connecting the Scottish islands a top priority because of the enormous clean and affordable energy potential, but also because of the substantial opportunity for island communities to benefit. This is a significant step towards realising our joint ambitions and we will look to drive forward further progress through the Delivery Forum, which will convene again in the spring.”


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • January 17th, 2015 16:38

    What will happen with this after May when Alistair Carmichael returns to the backbenches and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has been replaced, possibly, by Douglas Carswell in a Tory/UKIP coalition?

  • Robin Barclay

    • January 19th, 2015 12:51

    Can someone review this “substantial opportunity for island communities to benefit”. Is there anyone who can set out the benefits versus downside objectively? What income will be generated and who receives it. Who will benefit from land use (sales, rent, disturbance). How will tourism be affected when the islands are clad in giant windmills? How many permanent jobs will be created? Is this just the beginning and will all of Shetland eventually be clad in windmills, or will this be as far as it goes (and how could that be guaranteed). Since it looks certain that it is coming, it is maybe time for an objective review, warts and all.

  • John Tulloch

    • January 19th, 2015 16:38

    The statement “substantial opportunity for island communities to benefit” is incomplete and might be more accurate as follows:

    “…substantial opportunity for island communities to benefit… (the Holyrood and Westminster governments by meeting their foolishly-legislated targets of 80 percent carbon dioxide emissions reduction for them while avoiding massive unpopularity on the UK mainland due to the proliferation of wind farms.)”

    A side benefit, of course, is that the islands would then be tied, politically, to those who provide their income, as opposed to being free to go off in whatever direction they might prefer, as they might have done, had they “played the oil card” at the OIOF discussions.

    Is this the “no oil card” dividend?

  • David Spence

    • January 19th, 2015 18:37

    I would like the Council, on behalf of the people of Shetland, to have a public enquiry into who advised the Charitable Trust to invest in the Viking Energy Project when the cost of the project, in proportion to the costs, is reputed to be £600 – 700 million (excluding the Inter-Connecting Cable) and if you include the cost of the cable(s) from Shetland to mainland Scotland, this cost going into over the £1.5 – £2.00 Billion. Last year the Scottish Office refused to finance a cable from mainland Scotland to the Hebrides because the cost was too much. This cost was around £720 million. The estimated distance from Shetland to mainland Scotland id 4 times this.

    I am not wishing to be pessimistic, but when it comes to building costs, profiteering (the real reason for the hiked up costs) and other feeble excuses they use to increase the cost, the figure mentioned will more than likely be double if not more.

    The return on this ludicrous investment works out to be around 1%, yes, 1%. I suspect however, the cost of the project will be significantly greater than what has been quoted, and the investment, although already a joke, will become nothing more than the biggest white elephant this Council (via the Charitable Trust – despite what financial explanations they gave) has ever tried to justify, and completely ignoring what the people of Shetland have been saying ever since this white elephant set its feet on these islands.

  • Donnie Morrison

    • January 19th, 2015 20:07

    I find it amazing that Fergus Ewing thinks that the wind industry is even remotely “clean and affordable”. For an energy minister to be so ignorant of the pollution created in the manufacture of turbines and the ecological devastation caused by wind farm construction frankly beggars belief.

  • David Spence

    • January 20th, 2015 7:19

    Donnie, when it comes to greed and profit, your average capitalist cares not about the destruction they caused as long as their bank account looks healthy.

    The greatest threat to life and the environment on this planet is from people who only think of themselves (typical trait of capitalism) and what wealth they can gain regardless to the negative impact they have on the environment, eco-systems, people and life itself.


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