A new report published today highlights a series of actions to help deliver electricity grid connections necessary to unlock the huge renewable energy potential of the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland Islands.
The Scottish and UK Governments recognise the significant contribution that renewable energy generation on the Scottish islands could make to both Scotland’s and the United Kingdom’s 2020 renewable energy targets and the governments’ longer-term climate change ambitions.
The report commissioned jointly by the two governments – prepared by independent consultants Xero Energy – is part of on-going collaborative efforts to support the development of renewable energy projects on the three Scottish island groups and deliver jobs, investment and wider community benefits.
The report’s key findings, which will be considered by the inter-governmental Scottish Islands Renewables Group, include issues relating to:
* Certainty for developers around the longevity of the support that underpin the business cases for grid developments
* Stability of grid charges
* Loan guarantees
* Research funding support for grid connections for marine technologies, and
* Continuation of the inter-governmental island steering group to oversee co-ordination and delivery of support provisions.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The three island groups share significant challenges in getting grid connections off the drawing board in time to access support within the timeframe of the first Electricity Market Reform Delivery due to long lead-times and high costs for sub-sea connections – typically, upwards of four years to achieve approval and to build. The findings from this report will help us deal with these issues.
“There is wide acknowledgement across both the Scottish and UK Governments that the Scottish islands hold huge renewable energy potential, which could make a substantial contribution to both governments’ 2020 renewable energy targets and longer-term climate change ambitions.
“Our collaborative approach is based on this shared understanding, and through the work of the inter-governmental Scottish Islands Renewables Group, we will continue to build momentum towards delivery of these vital connections.”