The UK Government has a chance to make a real difference to island communities if they listen to the views expressed in the consultation on future support for island wind projects.
This is the view of Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan who have both submitted formal responses to the UK Government’s consultation on whether island wind projects should be eligible to bid for subsidies in future.
The UK Government has already decided to end onshore wind subsidies but is considering whether remote island projects should be treated differently.
Mr MacNeil met with Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Greg Clark MP and Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for BEIS earlier this month to give his input to the consultation.
He and Dr Allan met with community wind energy representatives prior to the meeting to ensure the views of all island-based groups were represented. The Scottish Government has also submitted a detailed response in support of remote island wind projects.
Mr MacNeil said: “I was encouraged by my meeting with the Secretary of State earlier this month and I really hope the UK Government will listen to the many representations which have been made to them on this issue.
“There is a strong view from the island energy sector that support from the UK Government is crucial as the way forward.
“This is a chance for the UK Government to make a real difference to island communities while at the same time reaping the benefits for the UK economy. The islands have the best wind resource in Europe and supporting non-mainland onshore wind through the Contract for Difference scheme offers the best value for money option for the UK Government.
“I look forward to discussing this with the Secretary of State when he visits the islands in the coming weeks.”
Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The result of this consultation will be critical to the future of renewable development on the islands.
“There has been widespread support for further development of island renewables from the Scottish Government, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, local Parliamentarians, developers and, most crucially, communities themselves.
“There are hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment from shovel-ready projects across the Western Isles that simply need the necessary infrastructure in place before they can be unlocked.
“The UK Government must now listen to reason and allow the island renewable sector the support it deserves.“