Eleanor Scott, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has welcomed the launch today by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar of a Community Renewable Support Fund, along with a £25 million boost from the Scottish Executive for recycling on the isles.
Dr Scott said: “This is a timely announcement of support for community-scale renewable energy schemes in the Western Isles. There are such tremendous green energy resources on and around the isles and I hope lots of communities will be encouraged by this fund to start tapping into them.”
Dr Scott, who has just returned from a fact-finding trip to Shetland, said: “There are several very successful community renewables schemes in the Northern Isles and I hope the Western Isles have opportunities to learn from them. Perhaps a Renewable Energy Forum for the Western Isles would be a good next step – the Shetland forum seems to be a great catalyst for innovation.”
Dr Scott concluded: “There are many people who want to see alternatives to the big multi-national led wind farm schemes, which currently dominate the renewables industry. This fund is an ideal opportunity to start some community-led developments and for local people to get a stake in this sector. The more community initiatives there are, the more muscle the Highlands and Islands will have to shape national energy policy so it really meets our needs.”
Commenting on yesterdayʼs Executive announcement of £25 million for recycling facilities in the Western Isles, Dr Scott said: “This is excellent news for communities in the Western Isles and shows both the Council and the Scottish Executive making a real commitment to recycling. I hope this cash is indicative of the level of support that various Highlands community recycling groups – some of which are near collapse due to shortage of funds – can expect in response to their recent application for funds.”
(Note: this item was originally published on Eleanor Scott’s Parliamentary website.)