Scottish islands could gain £725 million from renewables projects

Scotland’s island economies could benefit from up to £725 million over the next 25 years from renewables projects according to an independent published today. The Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have the potential to supply up to 5 per cent of total electricity demand in the GB market by 2030.

With appropriate investment in grid infrastructure, deployment of wind, wave and tidal power on the islands could grow rapidly by the early 2020s.

The report, commissioned by the government and written by Baringa, said delivering this increased level of deployment could result in:

  • Economic benefits up to £725 million for the island economies, including up to £225 million in community benefits
  • Local economic stimulus at peak of up to £83 million a year or an additional 5% boost to local economic output on average across the Islands
  • Revenues to community owned equity totalling up to £390 million for local communities from island generation projects
  • Employment boost of up to 2,000 jobs created in the peak development phase across the Islands
  • Alleviation of grid constraints in the Orkney Islands alone that could increase income to existing wind developments by around £2.7 million annually

Fergus Ewing, the Scottish minister for business, energy and tourism, said: “The potential considerable economic and employment benefits from renewables means it is vital for the UK government to deliver on their commitment to the islands. The council leaders and I have therefore written today to the secretary of state Amber Rudd MP. We are urging her department to progress the necessary EU permissions immediately, and to bring forward a viable package of support in the coming weeks that supports the vital grid connections to the three island groups.

“With high levels of fuel poverty in the islands it is necessary to deliver the unleashed potential of island renewables which will provide huge quantities of electricity but also provide enormous benefits to the people on the islands which could be used to help combat the problems of fuel poverty and rural deprivation.”

Read the full report: Economic Opportunities of Renewable Energy for Scottish Island Communities

Read more from the New Power archives: Time for a fresh start on funding to develop wave and tidal energy

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