Government must maintain pressure for State Aid approval for an Islands Strike Price – Carmichael

Northern Isles MP, Alistair Carmichael, has urged the government to secure consent for EU State Aid for the Islands Strike Price, to show real commitment to renewable energy projects in Scotland’s island communities.

 

The Coalition Government, driven by Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, announced a guaranteed price for electricity generated by onshore renewable projects in the Northern and Western Isles. The current Conservative Government have not announced any progress on negotiations for EU State Aid to deliver this policy, and Mr Carmichael wants ministers to outline a timeframe for a consultation.

 

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr Carmichael said:

 

What progress is the Secretary of State making on getting state aid consent for the strike price for island communities in offshore wind projects? When does she expect to go out to consultation on what that strike price should be?

 

Andrea Leadsom MP, Energy Minister, replied:

We absolutely appreciate that industry, across all technologies, needs clarity on Government policies in future allocation rounds so that it can manage its investment decisions, and we aim to support that. We are currently working with Her Majesty’s Treasury to finalise the budget for future auctions, and we will set out more information as soon as we can.

 

Commenting afterwards, Mr Carmichael said: 

“The Islands Strike Price came about from many conversations with the renewables industry about their particular needs for stability and secure investment. Those stakeholders, therefore, will be disappointed to see such a non-committal answer from the Energy Minister. 

“The government has taken an axe to the renewable industry. The guarantee of a protected return on electricity is a real draw, which is why the Strike Price was very well received in the Scottish Islands when first proposed. It would be a great shame if the current government were unable to recognise such benefits.”