Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today challenged the Prime Minister to change course and put greater support for tidal stream technologies, such as those developed in the Northern Isles, into the upcoming Contract for Difference auctions. The auctions are part of the government’s fiscal policies to support the commercialisation of green energy technologies such as offshore wind, and yet despite the UK’s world-leading position in tidal stream energy development, these technologies are not currently included in the government’s draft framework for the next auction, which is to be finalised at the end of November.
Speaking in the House Mr Carmichael said:
“The Prime Minister is right that this is a moment for turning words into action and one very small but very important action that he could take now, would be the creation of a ringfenced pot for the development of tidal stream energy in the next round of Contract for Difference auctions. This is a decision that has to be taken by the end of this month. Will the Prime Minister talk to his colleagues in BEIS and the Treasury and make sure that it happens?”
Responding, the Prime Minister said:
“This is a point that I have heard several times from the benches opposite and I am very impressed by the tidal proposals that I have seen. What I will undertake to him is not to make an absolute commitment on the Contract for Difference but I will certainly go away and look at it again.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“It is encouraging that the Prime Minister has agreed to look at support for tidal stream again. We have to hope, however, that he will do more than just look, as time is running out. We lead in tidal energy innovation in the isles and across the UK. We must build on that advantage.
“There is no time like the present – I shall be working with colleagues across Parliament to make the case for the fiscal levers to be updated urgently. In the month of Cop26, this is a question of both good environmental and economic sense.”