The approval of a Western Isles power link could unlock around £2 billion in investment and create “hundreds” of jobs for the region, a local councillor has claimed.
Comhairle’s lead on sustainable development, Councillor Donald Crichton, has called for the transmission link to be rubber stamped so that the Western Isles is able to contribute up to 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity to mainland Scotland.
The region has a number of wind projects currently in the planning and operational stage, such as the Stornoway Wind Farm and the Beinn Ghrideag wind farm on the Isle of Lewis.
Cllr Crichton said: “The Transmission Link and Wind Farms already consented in the Western Isles can help power Scotland to a cleaner economic recovery in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.
“The UK Energy Regulator must now approve the Western Isles Transmission Link and help Scotland and the rest of the UK to emerge from the worst economic downturn in 300 years while taking steps to meet critical Climate goals”.
Cllr Crichton also claims the power link would help create “hundreds” of local jobs and called on the regulator Ofgem and the UK Government to take “appropriate action”.
He said: “We have shovel ready projects, consented and contracted to grid, which have been delayed for years by obscure regulatory blockages.
“Global oil markets are collapsing and investors are turning their backs on fossil fuels in favour of renewables.
“With unemployment set to rise post-Covid and families facing unimaginable economic challenges, now is not the time to be stalling on £2 billion of private investment for the sake of the few pence on electricity bills it will take to deliver the Western Isles Transmission Link.
“We call on the Regulator and Government to take the necessary action.”
Last month, a Shetland wind farm project has received a significant shot in the arm after an energy regulator said it was ready to rubber stamp proposals for an energy link with mainland Scotland.
Ofgem approved plans tabled by SSE subsidiary Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to build a 600 megawatt (MW) subsea electricity transmission link.