The UK and Scottish Governments have published a report which considers the evidence base for developing renewables projects on the Scottish Islands.
The report – Scottish Islands Renewables Project - shows that while there are significant potential benefits to developing renewables on the Scottish Islands, there are also considerable costs that need to be overcome.
Key conclusions are:
Renewable generation, including onshore wind, wave and tidal, on the Scottish Islands could make a significant contribution to the UK’s 2020 renewables targets.
The cost of deploying renewables is higher than comparable projects on the mainland, due to the expensive transmission links that would be required.
The work has been guided and assisted by a Steering Group, with representatives from the island communities, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the transmission companies.
Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:
“The Government is keen to unlock the potential for the development for renewable energy on the Scottish Islands, but it’s vital that projects represent value for money for the consumer.
“The report being published marks a considerable step in progress towards making decisions about supporting renewables investment on the Scottish Islands.
“I am grateful to the renewables industry, communities in the Islands, and the Scottish Government - who have all participated so enthusiastically in this research.”
Fergus Ewing, the Minister for Energy Enterprise and Tourism said:
“This report is a huge step forward to understanding some of the challenges facing renewables developers in each of the main Scottish island groups. Scotland’s islands are rich in renewable energy resources, and this independent report makes absolutely clear that they can make a cost-effective contribution to 2020 renewables and decarbonisation targets if issues around grid access and high transmission charging can be addressed.
“The report will now help the UK and SG to assess the range of possible options for addressing the challenges facing island renewable developers.
“Publication today marks the end of the first phase of the intergovernmental work to understand the barriers to generation on the Scottish Islands and views on the report are invited. We are already progressing a robust analysis of all the options. We recognise the need to do this swiftly – and we aim to complete this later this summer.”
The Government, with support from the Scottish Government, will use the report to weigh up the costs and benefits of renewable generation on the Scottish Islands against other sources of electricity, considering the impact on the local economies and communities, and importantly on wider GB consumers.
A response to the report, based on a full consideration of the evidence, will be published shortly.