The rules governing the support of renewable projects should be changed to provide a dedicated pot for wave and tidal projects, the government has been told.
Speaking during a debate in parliament last week on the issues facing offshore islands, Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael called for offshore wind to be reclassified as a mature technology under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) regime.
Currently both wind and tidal are grouped with offshore wind, which accounted for all but a small share of the capacity procured through the latest CfD auction in September last year, as less established technologies.
The Liberal Democrat MP, said: “It is pretty well accepted that offshore wind is no longer a developing technology but is now a fairly mature technology.
“However, as a consequence of that development and the way in which the price of offshore wind has fallen, the full funding for developing technologies is then scooped up by offshore wind and the money that should be there to help wave and tidal power to develop is simply taken by offshore wind.
“Some dedicated pot of development funding for wave and tidal power would be of transformative benefit to the industry, and it would certainly be of enormous economic benefit to the island communities that I represent.”
Wave and tidal power projects under development off the coast of the Scottish Islands include the first phase of Atlantis’ MeyGen’s 6MW turbine system, which is located in the Pentland Firth between the Scottish mainland and the Orkneys.
Carmichael said while renewable energy would “certainly” be an “enormous” economic benefit for the Scottish Islands it was also their “biggest opportunity” to contribute to the UK’s future wealth and prosperity.
Urging the government to stop being “blinkered” with respect to renewable energy policy, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd said projects in Anglesey and Orkney have demonstrated that investment in renewable energy can deliver sustainable jobs and assist efforts to promote the UK’s energy security.