Remote Scottish island communities have welcomed the news that the European Commission will not stand in their way when submitting wind farm plans in the next Contract for Difference (CfD) auction round.
A UK Government consultation, launched in December last year, sought to alter the definition of remote island wind energy in order that it might compete with larger developments.
The government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed in a tweet the news that that the European Commission did not raise “any objections” to the new government proposals.
A number of planned wind projects on Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles totalling 750MW are now one step closer to being eligible to compete within the third CfD auction round.
A UK Government spokesman for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “We welcome the decision from the European Commission not to raise any objections to the government’s proposal on remote island wind.
“Clean growth is at the heart of our Industrial Strategy which is essential to ensure that the demand for clean energy can always be met. We are committed to cutting emissions while keeping costs down for consumers, creating high value jobs and growing the economy.”
The new government proposal would seek to consider remote island wind projects as a separate and distinct technology, therefore allowing them to compete in CfD auctions.
A further consideration of the proposal is that island projects would set their own individual strike price, separate from the UK.
Welcoming the announcement, Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil, whose constituency is Na h-Eileanan an Iar on the Isle of Lewis, said: “This is an expected but welcome step.
“I am glad that the European Commission has done what we expected them to do and ensures that this process is rolling forward.”
Many in remote communities see renewable energy as vital to their economic and clean energy future.
This new BEIS announcement will be viewed as a lifeline by many small island wind projects.
Audrey Maciver, director of energy at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said: “HIE along with Shetland Islands Council, Orkney Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, have long pressed for a means by which efficient, cost effective renewable electricity generation can be exported to the mainland electricity system, recognising the fantastic wind, wave and tidal resources of these islands. In doing so, significant economic and social benefits will be realised not only on the islands but across Scotland and the UK. This confirmation by BEIS represents a step in the right direction, and we will continue to work with the developers as they progress their bids for the next Contract for Difference auction in Spring 2019.”
“We will continue to work with the developers with their bids for the next Contract for Difference auction in Spring 2019.”