Scottish islands call for swift RE support to keep funding

John Swinney (Photo: Scottish government)

Ministers and leaders of three Scottish Island Councils have called for a swift conclusion on the next round of auctions that support the renewable energy sector to unlock £1.3 billion of investments offered by the shovel ready projects on the Western Isles and Shetland.

The ministers have written to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, expressing concern about the effects of continued uncertainty on support for large-scale renewable energy projects on the Scottish Islands.

Namely, the ministers say at least £1.3 billion of investment in shovel ready projects is being put at risk by indecision by the UK Government over major funding decisions.

Delays in announcing which technologies will be supported in the next round of auctions that support the renewable energy sector are putting at risk existing investments made in developing renewable energy projects which would bring considerable socio-economic benefits for the Islands’ communities, according to the Scottish government.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister And Cabinet Secretary For Education and Skills, said: “In the wake of the EU referendum, the UK can ill afford to miss the opportunity to unlock £1.3 billion of investments offered by the shovel ready anchor projects on the Western Isles and Shetland and the associated benefits for the UK-wide supply chain.

“We would urge the new Secretary of State to take immediate action to ensure that the UK government re-engages with this process and delivers on the commitments to harness the renewables potential of the islands.”

An independent report, commissioned by the Scottish government, estimated that Scotland’s island economies could benefits from up to £725 million over the next 25 years from renewables projects.

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