MEP Urges Islands To Take Energy Issues To Brussels

11 August 2006
Following the recent visit of European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs to Scotland and his meeting with representatives of Scotland's island councils Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith is urging Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles Council to lobby Europe on their energy related problems.

In particular Mr Smith wants to see European action to permanently end the discriminatory system of transmission charges and to support inter connectors allowing island energy suppliers access to the mainland grid.

Speaking after the Commissioners visit Mr Smith said

"The point of bringing the Energy Commissioner to Scotland was for him to see and hear first hand both the potential Scotland has to develop high quality renewable energy provision and the problems some areas of Scotland face in doing so.

"The Commissioner was aware of problems with the transmission charging system before he came to Scotland and has now heard first hand the damage they could cause to potential developments. He is interested. What we have to do now is ensure that the Commissioner looks into this seriously and knows how much of a problem it is - to do that the three island councils and the highlands need to seriously engage with Brussels.

"As for the inter connectors - what is needed is financial support from somewhere so they are not dependent on commercial pressures for what may be inappropriate developments. There may be money in the European Investment Bank, but it won't be made available without significant domestic support.

"I strongly urge all three councils to get involved and to stay involved with lobbying Europe on Energy issues, it might just be the way to help Scotland achieve all her energy potential."