A report from the UK and Scottish Governments highlights the Scottish islands’ potential as major sources of renewable energy - and the challenges that need to be overcome.
The report – Scottish Islands Renewables Project - shows that while there are significant potential benefits to developing renewables in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, there are also considerable costs involved.
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.
- There could be major benefits for the economy of Orkney, with more than 400 full time jobs created by 2020 and as many as 4,500 by 2030.
The report has been guided and assisted by the Scottish Islands Renewables Steering Group, with representatives from the islands communities and their Councils, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the transmission companies and the two Governments.
Orkney Islands Council Convener Councillor Steven Heddle said: “It is good to see the UK and Scottish Governments working together to address issues of fundamental importance to the economic wellbeing of our community.
“I welcome the fact that this important report is being published so soon after the establishment of the Steering Group last October.
“I also welcome the report’s conclusion that renewables projects in the islands face significant challenges in terms of access to the National Grid and the possibility of transmission charges that are considerable higher than those imposed on mainland Britain.
“Orkney is blessed with considerable wind, wave and tidal resources and has established a global lead in the development of marine renewable energy. We now look forward to further deliberation within the Steering Group on how best to address these issues, to ensure Orkney fulfils its huge energy potential.”
UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey 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 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.”