Cheaper household energy prices is a ‘chief priority’ in renewable discussions

Seeking cheaper energy prices is among the “chief priorities” in the SIC’s discussions on future renewable energy projects.

Infrastructure director John Smith said the issue was at the forefront of the council’s discussions with prospective developers.

He made the comments at Monday’s policy and resources committee during discussions on securing community benefits from future offshore wind projects.

High energy costs and fuel poverty have been a growing concern in Shetland, compounded by the vast quantities of oil and gas that flow through the isles. 

With renewables projects in developments and more set to follow, politicians have made calls for a “Shetland tariff” to ensure the isles reaps the benefits of the clean energy generated locally.

Mr Smith noted the recent proposals for a 10GW floating windfarm and Shetland hydrogen refinery announced by Aker at COP26 as an example of the scale of the emerging projects in question. 

He said that while the council was striving to secure cheaper energy bills, the “complexity of delivery should not be underestimated”. He said it required input from the UK and Scottish governments, the regulator and energy companies as well as the council.

While admitting there was still a “good deal of work to do”, Mr Smith also said it was “squarely placed on the table as one of the chief priorities”.

Shetland North member Alastair Cooper suggested the community benefit should also be targeted at reducing the amount of energy households used, not simply making it cheaper.

Mr Cooper noted that while Shetland had a track record of securing community benefit from onshore projects, such as Viking Energy, it would be “breaking new ground” when it came to offshore wind.

Political leader Steven Coutts said it was “absolutely necessary” that the council outlines its ambitions for the community amid the energy transition.

Mr Coutts said that in a challenging and quick moving landscape “we need to ensure Shetland’s interests are protected and promoted”.


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