Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced to Islands Council leaders that he has received assurances of the UK Government’s commitment to continuing the Scottish Islands Renewable Delivery Forum (SIRDF).
The SIRDF was established in 2014 and has been co-chaired by the Scottish and UK Governments.
Its purpose is to support the joint policy aim of delivering and connecting the huge renewable energy resources of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles to the mainland electricity grid.
When the SIRDF last met in January 2015, the UK Government at the time committed to taking forward vital actions to support the work of the group. These include:
- The publication in July 2015 of important information relating to the level and availability of support for remote island wind generators.
- Securing State Aid approval for the support mechanism (Remote Island Wind Contracts for Difference) from the European Commission.
- Developing proposals to secure EU funding to help the Orkney marine energy sector overcome barriers to grid access.
Ewing has joined representatives from the Islands Councils in Glasgow at a meeting of the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group – set up in response to the Our Islands Our Future campaign.
Following the meeting, Ewing said: “The new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has agreed to continue the work of her predecessor by co-chairing the next meeting of the Scottish Islands Delivery Forum during September, and has indicated an intention to pursue the necessary support mechanism for remote island wind.
“This assurance is a very important statement of continued intent – delivering island renewables and grid connections could have a transformational economic impact for island communities.
“The Delivery Forum has been instrumental in achieving further progress amongst the key players, and I look forward to continuing the work of the group. I was also pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this further today with council leaders at the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group, which takes a keen interest in work to deliver island renewables.”
Image: Scottish Government