Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur today pressed for progress on Orkney grid connections which he argues is “essential to harness the renewable energy potential of our islands.”
Speaking in parliament this afternoon in response to a Ministerial statement on a renewed energy strategy, Mr McArthur called on Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to outline “the next steps for securing grid connections to Orkney and the other islands groups.”
Grid connections were also a key theme during the visit to Orkney earlier this week of the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee as part of their inquiry into the renewable energy sector in Scotland.
Mr McArthur attended the evidence session in Stromness which examined community and locally owned renewable energy schemes, as well as the impact that recent policy announcements by the UK government have had on the renewables sector more broadly.
Responding to Mr McArthur, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing confirmed that making progress on grid connections to Orkney remains a “top priority.” He said that the report by energy consultants Baringa estimated the benefits could be up to £725 million.
Following the exchanges, Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur said:
“Confidence in the renewables sector has taken a hammering in light of recent announcements by the current UK Government. Rebuilding that confidence will not be easy, but if we are to meet our climate change and renewables targets, firm action is required as never before.
“Grid connections to the islands would be a good place to start and I welcome the Minister’s confirmation that this remains ‘a top priority’ for him. He is right that the benefits of such a connection could be in the region of £725m over the next 25 years, something that would have a transformational effect on our islands but also the wider Scottish economy.“