Orkney's MSP Liam McArthur used a Scottish Government debate on the future of renewables in Scotland to reiterate the case for grid connections to Orkney.
Mr McArthur also highlighted the need to make best use of locally available renewables resources, and called on the Energy Minister to lend these initiatives government support.
The debate coincided with publication of the Scottish Government’s latest update report on the 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland, which records a significant increase in the generation of electricity from renewable sources.
Following the debate Mr McArthur said:
“It is good to see confirmation of an increase in generation of electricity from renewable sources. Yet challenges remain if the government is to achieve the 100% target it has set.
“For this to happen, Orkney will need to be able to play its full part, given the richness of our resources as well as the skills and experience we have built up, particularly in marine renewables.
“However, without a clear and urgent timetable for delivering the grid infrastructure we need, there is a clear threat to the development of renewables in Orkney. Not only would this represent a missed opportunity, it would have ramifications for the rest of the UK in terms of meeting its renewables and climate change targets.
“We also need to take advantage of opportunities to make based use of the locally available resources we have. The Surf n Turf project is already looking at how hydrogen can be used to run our ferries while installed renewables can and must be used to heat and power the replacement Balfour hospital.
“Renewables also offer the chance to provide affordable warmth to the very many households in Orkney in fuel poverty. I still believe that specific tariffs can be created that would allow us to target support to address this scourge in our community.
“In these and other areas, support from both the Scottish and UK government will be essential. Given the prize at stake, I hope that support will be forthcoming”.