Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil held a productive meeting with Richard Harrington, Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Tuesday afternoon.
Commenting Angus MacNeil said: “I am glad I called for and pursued this fruitful meeting with the Minister where he told me that he was determined to progress with island Contracts for Difference (CfD) and he said he was “committed to doing this.” Off course he knows that this has to go through state aid clearance at the European Commission and through the House of Commons, but following this Autumns CfD auctions from Pot 2, which will be known by 11th September, it is intended to use this information to inform the case for the official notification to the European Commission probably about a week later around September 18th for the intention of having an island wind category. This would enable the islands to compete for CfD’s from Pot 2.
Post receiving a green light from the EU the next stage would be getting legislation through the House of Commons but given the volume of Brexit work this might have timetabling issues. However, the upshot means we should see an auction in the first quarter of 2019, about 18 months away, for island CfD’s.
This should give many room for optimism. We have money committed and a timetable in place, we have measuring sticks on this path from this September to the auctions taking place.
Many people will wonder about the community schemes and various schemes competing against each other but we aren’t really at that stage yet because of the hurdles we have to get through to get to that point. However, there is an awareness of the various community offers that there are available for communities across island groups which the Minister, Mr Harrington himself raised.
Finally, I would like to thank both the Secretary of State Greg Clarke for visiting my constituency earlier this year, at my invitation, and I’d like to also thank Richard Harrington for his openness and frankness in answering my direct questions and for his seeming intention of getting on with the job.