Strike price decision sparks new row over green subsidies for Scots islands

Shetland news
Shetland news

A fresh row has broken out over subsidies for renewable energy on the islands.

For the first time, the UK Government confirmed yesterday that green projects on Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles would be entitled to a higher subsidy than those on the mainland.

Island schemes will get £115 per MWh from 2017, compared to £90 for the mainland, to take account of higher transmission charges, which have held back developments.

While the figure is expected to make schemes on the northern isles viable, it is thought to be too low to boost the Western Isles.

Angus MacNeil, SNP MP for the Western Isles, said: “All islands are different – and have different costs associated with renewable energy – and I am disappointed to see the UK Government package the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland together.”

Alistair Carmichael, Scottish secretary and Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland, said: “It’s good news for the island communities.

“Having now drilled down into the reason why the figure for the Western Isles was so much higher than the northern isles, I think the strike price confirmed today is one which will be able to work for the Western Isles as well.

“The reason why the Western Isles was at a higher figure was that they had put into their calculation a share of the cost of Beauly-Denny (power line), which seemed a bizarre way of doing the calculation.”