Given recent newspaper headlines, one might think it a bit strange to suggest that anyone should actually be encouraged to invest in anything “offshore”. Well, that’s exactly what I’m calling on our politicians to do. However, instead of funds quietly disappearing off to tax-havens such as Panama or the Cayman Islands, I’m proposing an investment that would genuinely benefit society, just off our own shores, on the islands of Scotland. More precisely, I’d like to urge the Prime Minister David Cameron to deliver on his promise last year to help unlock the green energy potential of Scotland’s islands. Establishing a financial mechanism, or “Contract for Difference”, to support renewables on the islands as he committed and enabling them to connect to the National Grid would lead to massive investment into some of our most remote and rural communities. Home to some of the best wind, wave and tidal resources in the entire country it makes total sense for us to try and tap into that island potential to generate clean power for Britain’s homes and businesses. It’s been estimated renewables schemes in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland could generate five per cent of total UK power demand by 2030. That’s approaching the same output expected from the troubled Hinkley C nuclear power station, but with none of the radioactive mess to clean-up afterwards and for a fraction of the cost.
Herald 4th May 2016 read more »