31 January 2017
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has responded to the government's public consultation on treatment of non-mainland GB onshore wind projects.
Elected representatives and community groups from Orkney, Shetland and the Wester Isles have, for many years, been campaigning to have interconnectors in place to transport electricity generated on the Northern and Western Isles to the national grid however the projects are repeatedly stalling, and as a result, increasing in price.
Mrs Grant, who is Scottish Labour's Rural Economy Spokesperson, has already called on Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to look again at the decision not to include an island tariff in the next round of Contracts for Difference, a method of support to make island renewable energy projects viable.
Mrs Grant said "It had been hoped that the Contracts for Difference pricing regime would have offered an incentive to developers to pay for these connections however the government ruled this out.
"The decision not to include an island tariff in the next round of Contracts for Difference has prompted not only great disappointment in the Northern and Western Isles but also great concern about the community benefit which is being lost in these areas, some of which are amongst the most economically fragile in the UK. The economies of the Northern and Western Isles desperately need this intervention.
"All have extremely high rates of fuel poverty and generating low cost electricity could help tackle this, but they cannot do this without access to the grid.
Mrs Grant concluded "It is for government therefore to intervene, either by creating an islands Contract for Difference or by putting in place the interconnectors themselves."