Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil had a warm and productive meeting today with Energy Minister Richard Harrington, Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Mr Harrington confirmed with Mr MacNeil that the requests from the UK government side to progress with Island renewables is ongoing in a very straightforward manner.
Commenting after the meeting Angus MacNeil MP said:
“I am very grateful to the Energy Minister, Richard Harrington MP, who has been very helpful and open in his dealings throughout this process.
“I asked Mr Harrington about the request to the European Commission which was submitted on 11th October, he said it was a simple and straightforward request and that the Commission has to respond by 11 December. The Commission could respond with more questions, this remains to be seen, but if they do have more questions it would delay the process by 2 months.
“Mr Harrington confirmed that the interconnector will be paid for through the CfD process by the winning bidder repaying the capital over a number of years. The Minister also confirmed that while projects will have to demonstrate some community benefit the ultimate decision will be made on the basis of price.
“I questioned the Minister further on the Statutory Instrument and he confirmed that the process for this can happen in tandem with the European Commission. A consultation will open in the next 2-3 weeks for approximately 12 weeks, it is currently being written and will then go through the government departments for clearance.
“The slightly unfortunate news is that Mr Harrington on departmental advice says he cannot ring-fence island renewables inside Pot 2, as he is prevented from doing so through State Aid. The few times they have ring-fenced, it has been for a minimum of approximately 10 MW for tidal and even then it was not successful.
“Mr Harrington told me that any upgrades done on the mainland will be on the same basis as upgrades from offshore which come under an Ofgem formula.
“Mr Harrington remains very interested in Island renewables, he has promised that he will keep in touch with progress and I am very grateful for his assistance with island renewables.”