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16/04/14 13:00

Community stakes high for island grid links

Stornoway Trust to be invited to join new Delivery Forum.

John Swinney today provided an update to his Cabinet colleagues on progress towards realising the Western Isles’ significant renewable energy potential.

Yesterday, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth met with representatives of the Stornoway Trust, who manage a large community estate on the island. A number of large renewable energy projects have been consented on the Trust’s land, and it is pursuing a number of potential ownership and benefit options which could secure tens of millions of pounds for the community.

The Stornoway Trust have been looking at harnessing renewable energy on the estate for many years, but issues relating to the delivery of the vital grid links remain unresolved.

The Scottish Government has made addressing this a top priority, and as part of this Energy Minister Fergus Ewing secured an agreement last month with Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey, to convene a Delivery Forum. This will bring key parties together to ensure that the policy of the UK and Scottish Government to support island renewables delivers.

Commenting after Cabinet, Mr Swinney said:

“The Stornoway Trust offered a valuable insight into the transformational impact that renewable energy could have on the Western Isles. It is a key reason why this Government is committed to doing all that we can to support these projects and why we remain determined that they can be delivered – something which was clearly evident from the discussion at Cabinet today.

“I have asked my officials to ensure that the Stornoway Trust are invited to attend the pending Delivery Forum which Fergus Ewing and Ed Davey have agreed to take forward, so that the compelling potential advantages of community ownership and benefits can be fully accounted for as we work towards a successful outcome."