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.”