Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has described a meeting with Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry & Energy (Opens in a new window or downloads a file), Richard Harrington MP and Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy at the Scottish Government, to discuss Island renewables as very positive. The talks focused around the delivery of the Conservative Party manifesto to support Island renewables.
At the meeting, officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy outlined the process for the next period. This included the recognition of "Remote Island Wind" as a distinct technology category, the resubmission of the State Aid application to the European Commission and the UK Government's official response to the 2016 Island Wind consultation. Two parallel consultations around "Remote Island Wind" and how projects can deliver benefits to the community will also be launched in the Autumn.
Director of Development Calum Iain Maciver said: "This was an important and positive meeting that clearly sets the agenda for the next period. The Minister and his officials were positive about prospects for the Islands and they were keen to hear how the Islands could benefit from the establishment of a renewables industry. Island representatives discussed with the Minister the transformative economic potential of renewables, the strategic goal of ensuring that communities across the islands benefit from the establishment of the new industry, the different types of benefits that will accrue as well as the different types of methodologies for disbursing these benefits.
There are still a range of challenges to be worked through, but the meeting with Mr Harrington has reinvigorated prospects for Island renewables. There now appears to be a broad consensus between the UK and Scottish Governments, the three island Local Authorities and the developer community that progress can and will be made. The Comhairle will continue to work hard over the next period to help deliver on the potential arising from the meeting."