Focus on Scottish islands' grid needs

A report has highlighted the action needed to help deliver grid connections that can unlock the huge renewables potential of Scotland's islands

The study, prepared by independent consultant Xero Energy, was commissioned by the Scottish and UK governments. It is part of collaborative efforts to support renewables projects on the Western Isles, Orkney and the Shetlands, and to deliver jobs, investment and wider community benefits.

The key findings include issues relating to certainty for developers about the longevity of the support for grid developments; the stability of grid charges; loan guarantees; research funding for connections for marine technologies; and continuation of the inter-governmental island steering group.

The two governments recognise the significant contribution renewables generation on the islands could make to Scotland’s and the UK’s 2020 targets and their longer-term climate ambitions.

The report’s findings will be considered by the inter-governmental Scottish Islands Renewables Group.

“The three island groups share significant challenges in getting grid connections off the drawing board in time to access support within the time frame of the first Electricity Market Reform delivery, due to long lead times and high costs for subsea connections – typically upwards of four years to achieve approval and build,” says Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing.

“The findings from this report will help us deal with these issues.”