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Islands urge cut in green energy costs  

The cost of connecting green energy schemes in the Scottish islands to the National Grid is untenably high and should be cut, according to a new report.

Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are seen as having huge potential for renewables, but regulations form a barrier to unlocking the resources.

The report was drawn up by Xero Energy (XE) for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the three island councils, which are all promoting renewable-energy projects.

It suggests charges are against EU rules on grid connections and could be challenged through legal action.

XE says the island wind and wave energy resources are some of the best in Europe. There are planned wind developments totalling 1,800MW and up to 21,500MW from offshore wave projects, although these will rely on new links to the mainland.

Subsea interconnectors between the islands and larger markets in the south of Scotland or England are seen as being high-risk and too costly, the report says. But it argues they should still be examined.

Elaine Hanton, HIE’s head of renewable energy, said: “This report highlights the need to look again at regulation governing the electricity network. We need to determine whether there are other means of getting the best outcome for the public and the environment.”

The Scotsman

17 July 2007

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