Pressure heaps on UK government over lack of renewable commitment

Pressure is mounting on the UK government to reconsider its decision to exclude isles windfarm projects from the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction.

Labour list MSP for the Highlands & Islands Rhoda Grant has joined the calls for energy secretary Greg Clark to think again about his stance on the exclusion of an island tariff in the next round of CfD – a method of support used to make renewable projects viable.

It comes after SNP MSP Maree Todd labelled the decision a “betrayal of island communities”.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has already warned that windfarm projects, such as the 103-turbine Viking Energy scheme planned for the isles, could grind to a halt because of a lack of commitment from the Tory government.

Earlier this month SIC leader Gary Robinson warned Tory inactivity was holding back more than £1 billion in investment.

Mrs Grant, Scottish Labour’s rural economy spokeswoman, has also asked Mr Clark what government intended to do to deliver the interconnectors to Northern and Western Isles, and how such cables will be funded.

“We are concerned the government hasn’t created an islands contract in Contracts for Difference,” she said.

“They must look again at this decision but in the meantime I’ve asked them to let me have their plans on how the Northern and Western Isles interconnectors will be funded in order to maximise renewable generation in our islands communities.

“The renewables potential of the Scottish islands has always been widely accepted to be huge, both for onshore wind and wave and tidal energy. While we can capture this energy, we have no way of transporting it to the mainland without interconnectors to the national grid.

“The interconnectors to the Northern and Western Isles have been in the planning for many years and are repeatedly stalling, and as a result, increasing in price.

“It had been hoped that the Contracts for Difference pricing regime would have offered an incentive to developers to pay for these connections but this opportunity has been missed.

“Therefore it falls to government to fund these connections in a different manner and I have asked Mr Clark how his government intends to deliver these connections and how these will be funded.”


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • November 14th, 2016 18:40

    No doubt, the Shetland electorate will have noted the parties – SNP, Liberal Democrats and Labour – who are pulling out the stops to foist Viking Energy on them, against the council planning department’s advice and without a local referendum.

    It isn’t as if VE was going to be good for the nation, far from it. It will supply the most expensive onshore energy available.

  • John Tulloch

    • November 15th, 2016 8:33

    The SNP are playing for an early second independence referendum. With independence they further intend to retain/regain membership of the EU. Scotland will become a foreign country, like France.

    Yet they categorise as “a betrayal” Westminster’s refusal to force English and Welsh consumers to pay for the most expensive onshore energy available in the UK. It isn’t clear why the UK would agree to subsidise a foreign country’s energy exports to make them competitive with its own?

    Which begs the question:
    If the SNP wins independence in 2018-ish and the UK has not agreed to its island renewables plan, will the Scottish government – ah-ah, no sniggering! – make Scottish consumers foot the bill for making it happen?

  • Frank Hay

    • November 15th, 2016 10:10

    These politicians need to take a closer look at wind farm economics and whether or not the electricity consumer is getting value for money by siting wind farms so far away from where the energy is required.
    Another issue they need to consider is the effects on local communities of siting large scale wind farms on their doorsteps. Such projects cause strife within communities and irreparable damage to relationships within them. This is particularly true of Viking Energy where the consent process displayed many flaws and has caused much bitterness locally. Many local people support the UK government decision and do not feel betrayed by it..

  • i tinkler

    • November 16th, 2016 18:16

    How about some simple facts and a little bit of honesty! The Scottish Government, following EU regulation (EU Directive 2014/89/EU), has recently imposed “the National Marine Plan (NMP) for all activities in Scottish waters”. This dictate, requires the burial of all electrical submarine interconnectors. That raises the cost of the infamous interconnector to a cool £1billion (SSE cost £0.37 million per Km. Length 255Km) or there about. That is probably more monies than Viking Energy could ever generate in 25 years (without massive subsidy). The game is over. The Shetland Turbine money spin is out of wind!!!
    How very ironic if, the Scottish Government enforcing EU regulations, directive 2014/89/EU, may well have killed off Shetland renewable industries, that red tape gets everywhere!!!


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