The head of a leading marine energy firm has argued that renewable projects on Scottish islands are rendered “uneconomic” by UK Government energy policies.
Aquamarine Power chief executive Martin McAdam said schemes off the mainland are hit with “stratospheric” grid connection charges.
The publication last week of a Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) consultation on how to encourage renewable generation on Scottish islands was a “disappointing read”, he said.
In an online blog, Mr McAdam accused the DECC of failing to use its annual budget of £3.8billion to contribute to future energy and climate change policies.
He said: “Scotland’s islands have always been, in electricity terms, at the end of the line.
“It appears that, with regard to support from the UK Government, the islands are being hung out on the same long line.”
The consultation was prompted by long-standing difficulties in connecting island-based wind, wave and tidal projects to the national grid.
Mr McAdam said 90% of the UK’s wave energy projects were on Scottish islands, while the Western Isles boasted some of Europe’s windiest – and most cost-effective – windfarm sites.
“The system – administered by industry regulator Ofgem – charges annual fees for connecting to the grid, with charges ramping up the further north you go, and a methodology which levies stratospheric charges for Scottish islands. So much so that all island projects are uneconomic,” he said.
Although the consultation does not close until October 10, Mr McAdam suggested the regulator Ofgem is “not minded to help the islands”.
“It looks like charges will be reduced for the Scottish mainland, which is welcome, but island charges will remain eye-watering,” he added.
Last night, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “Mr McAdam is correct to highlight the need for proposals that support all three island groups and the Scottish Government will continue to make that case to the UK Government.”