Comhairle nan Eilean Siar today held a very positive seminar at which Members heard that the Western Isles is on the brink of major renewables energy developments.
Comhairle Leader, Cllr Roddie Mackay, said: "This was a very informative and productive seminar at which we discussed the facts in relation to the renewable outlook for the Western Isles and the major potential for huge investment in these islands.
The stakes are huge and our communities should be working together to ensure that we deliver maximum community benefit from the interconnector and the vast renewable resources we have here in the islands. This is not about any one community. This is about the whole of the Western Isles benefiting from our resources and our partnership working and the Comhairle is committed to supporting all renewables developments including community energy.
The UK Government recently confirmed that Remote Island Wind will be an eligible technology to compete in the 2019 Contracts for Difference auction and it was made very clear from today’s seminar that the Lewis Wind Power and Ushinish Developments are the only projects which have the planning consents and the grid connection offer to be able to compete in that auction and deliver transformational opportunities and benefits for our communities."
Other important points which were highlighted at the seminar included:
- The Comhairle’s interest in renewable is strategic – we believe that the introduction of a renewables industry has the potential to be economically transformative
- Deliverability is the key to realising that transformative opportunity
- The European Commission has recently confirmed that there are no State Aid issues in regard to Remote Island Wind being able to compete in the 2019 Contracts for Difference auction
- To compete in the Contracts for Difference auction a developer will be required to demonstrate that they have planning consent and a grid connection offer
- Only developers with planning consents and a grid connection offer will be able to compete
- In the Outer Hebrides the only developers who hold the appropriate consents are Lewis Wind Power and Forsa
- If both these organisations are successful at auction it will provide the certainty for the Transmission Owner to invest in a new grid infrastructure to the Outer Hebrides
- New grid is therefore totally dependent on a successful auction outcome
- The only way that new grid and a renewables industry will emerge in the Outer Hebrides, in the foreseeable future, is if Lewis Wind Power and Forsa are successful at auction in 2019