West­ern Isles

The Oban Times - - News -

THE WEST­ERN Isles Devel­op­ment Trust (WIDT) has agreed to work in part­ner­ship with Com­mu­nity En­ergy Scot­land (CES) over a two-year pe­riod to help com­mu­nity groups in the West­ern Isles im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and progress re­new­able en­ergy schemes.

WIDT cur­rently in­vites ap­pli­ca­tions from com­mu­nity groups for fund­ing for projects with a fo­cus on al­le­vi­at­ing fuel poverty and pro­mot­ing re­new­able en­ergy. To date it has in­vested al­most £75,000 in pay­ments to pro­mote these ob­jec­tives. Ben­e­fi­cia­ries in­clude: Cothrom Lim­ited, South Uist; West­ern Isles Com­mu­nity Care Fo­rum, Har­ris; Kinloch His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, Lewis; West­ern Isles As­so­ci­a­tion for Men­tal Health, Stornoway; Back FC, Lewis; the West Har­ris Trust and the He­brides En­ergy Com­mu­nity In­ter­est Com­pany, Stornoway.

Since its in­cep­tion CES has helped sup­port nu­mer­ous com­mu­nity en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, fea­si­bil­ity and re­new­ables projects in the is­lands.

The WIDT has agreed to pro­vide sup­port of more than £28,000 to CES to al­low it to con­tinue to pro­vide as­sis­tance to com­mu­nity groups to de­velop projects and ob­tain sup­port from fun­ders (in­clud­ing the WIDT).

If a com­mu­nity group in the West­ern Isles is look­ing to im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency or de­velop a re­new­able en­ergy scheme it is in­vited to visit the web­sites of both CES and WIDT for more in­for­ma­tion. ISLES MP An­gus MacNeil made a last ditch at­tempt to con­vince the UK Gov­ern­ment to of­fer sup­port to is­land re­new­able projects when he met min­is­ters this week.

There is just over a week un­til the end of the UK Gov­ern­ment’s con­sul­ta­tion on whether Re­mote Is­land Wind projects should be sub­sidised in fu­ture and Mr MacNeil met with min­is­ters from the Depart­ment of Busi­ness, En­ergy and In­dus­trial Strat­egy (BEIS) on Tues­day to give his in­put.

The UK Gov­ern­ment has al­ready de­cided to end on­shore wind sub­si­dies but is con­sid­er­ing whether re­mote is­land projects should be treated dif­fer­ently.

Mr MacNeil said: ‘ With­out sup­port from the UK Gov­ern­ment, is­land re­new­able projects are less vi­able and this may in turn threaten the vi­a­bil­ity of the in­ter­con­nec­tor project.

‘This is not a one-way ex­change as a thriv­ing is­land re­new­ables sec­tor would be a win-win for the gov­ern­ment. Re­new­able en­ergy from the Scot­tish is­lands is cheaper than procur­ing it from off­shore sources and with the is­lands be­ing the best wind re­source in Europe, tap­ping into its po­ten­tial would greatly as­sist the gov­ern­ment in achiev­ing its en­ergy tar­gets.’

He said the UK Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion in Novem­ber not to al­low is­land projects to bid in the next round of Con­tract for Dif­fer­ence was ‘ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing’ es­pe­cially as is­land-based projects were al­ready dis­ad­van­taged through crip­pling trans­mis­sion charges.

‘I hope the out­come of this con­sul­ta­tion will how­ever bring a brighter fu­ture for is­land re­new­ables,’ he said.

‘I know pub­lic agen­cies and com­mu­nity groups in the is­lands are re­spond­ing to the con­sul­ta­tion and I would urge any group or in­di­vid­ual with an in­ter­est in this sec­tor to make a sub­mis­sion.

‘This may be the last chance to con­vince the UK Gov­ern­ment.’

Mr MacNeil dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion with some com­mu­nity re­new­able rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Mon­day and met with BEIS min­is­ters on Tues­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.