Holyrood has urged Westminster to act after a report found more than £700M could be generated by renewable energy infrastructure on islands north of the border over the next 25 years.
The Scottish Government-commissioned study by consultants Baringa Partners estimated that the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland could meet 5% of Britain’s total electricity demand by 2030.
Investment in generating assets and grid infrastructure could see renewable energy capacity across these territories grow by 2.4GW within 15 years, according to the report.
Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing wrote to UK energy secretary Amber Rudd urging her to press for EU clearance for a remote islands onshore wind subsidy
Ewing said: “This report confirms the potential of the vast renewable resources of our islands. They are arguably the best places in Europe to deliver renewable energy. The wind speeds are the strongest and they have the best potential for wave and tidal energy in the future.
“The potential considerable economic and employment benefits from renewables means it is vital for the UK government to deliver on its commitment to the islands.
“The council leaders and I have therefore written today to Amber Rudd. We are urging her department to progress the necessary EU permissions immediately, and to bring forward a viable package of support in the coming weeks that supports the vital grid connections to the three island groups.
“With high levels of fuel poverty in the islands it is necessary to deliver the unleashed potential of island renewables which will provide huge quantities of electricity but also provide enormous benefits to the people on the islands which could be used to help combat the problems of fuel poverty and rural deprivation.”
A spokesperson for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ”The remote islands Contract for Difference State Aid pre-notification was submitted to the European Commission by the UK Government in January 2015
”We continue to engage with the European Commission on the progress of the case. It would not be appropriate to discuss the details of particular notifications while we are in discussion with the Commission.”