Comhairle nan Eilean Siar seeks meeting with energy minister Greg Clark about renewables
Western Isles Council is looking to set up an early meeting with the new secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy
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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is seeking an early meeting with the new secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Greg Clark, to discuss renewable energy opportunities.
Western Isles council leader Angus Campbell said renewable development on the islands could “grow rapidly” by the 2020s with the right investment in infrastructure.
The call comes amid concerns about the UK Government’s commitment to renewable energy after Prime Minister Theresa May scrapped the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in last week’s cabinet reshuffle.
“There are many issues which we would like to discuss, not least how best to realise the vast renewable opportunities we have here in the Western Isles and the need for a new interconnector,” said Campbell.
“The Western Isles have an unrivalled wind energy resource and the local community is keen to harness that energy, both to make a secure contribution to the UK’s green energy targets and to stimulate new economic and social regeneration.
“With appropriate investment in grid infrastructure and generating assets, renewable energy development on the islands could grow rapidly by the early 2020s.”
He added that the council would want to discuss the delay in signing the application for state aid, particularly since it was said last year that the process would only take around two months.
Approval for EU state aid would ensure islands renewable projects are eligible for a ‘contract for difference’.
A contract for difference (CfD) is an agreement between an energy generator and the government-owned Low Carbon Contracts Company where a fixed energy price is agreed, with top-ups is the market price falls below that level.
This reduces risk and provides the company with stable, predicable revenue.
“An announcement about the next CfD (Contract for Difference) auction to be held at the end of 2016, will be critical to the delivery of the new Prime Minister’s commitment to support island renewables,” Campbell said.
“We look forward to a constructive working relationship with the new Secretary of State for Business and Energy and would be happy to meet with him here in the Western Isles or at Westminster at an early stage.”
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