COMMENT: Orkney wind turbine funding

Commenting on the results of the latest Contracts for Difference allocation announced by the UK Government today, Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said:

“There is a real opportunity to develop renewable projects in Orkney and Shetland; projects that will boost our local economy and help support the case for new island interconnectors to the mainland. In turn, this stimulus can help support some of the other innovative renewables technologies under development in the islands.

“This announcement shows that remote island wind, which Scottish Conservatives fought hard to be recognised as a distinct technology, can fully compete with other renewable energy sources. This is true even when competing with offshore wind which has shown considerable cost reductions in recent years.

“However, what is vitally important is that our planning system should recognise local community needs and concerns. Too often, the Scottish Government has railroaded through wind developments in the Highlands and Islands against community objections, as is the case with the Costa Head and Hesta Head developments.

“It is the UK Government’s job to ensure the funding and infrastructure is in place to allow the deployment of renewable technologies. But it is the Scottish Government’s responsibility, as planning is devolved, to ensure they are sited suitably and that local concerns are considered.

“While it is welcome that funding can be made available, the Scottish Government should review its planning rules to ensure that when onshore wind developments are proposed, the views of local councils and local residents are not simply discounted.”