Rules that will come into force next week will mean the Shetland Islands can start making cash from their green energy projects.
The laws, introduced by DECC, mean that from 18 August 2010 local authorities are no longer restricted from selling renewable electricity into the national or local network.
Shetland has much potential and is already developing several wind energy projects. The new legislation will mean more of projects like these become viable.
The renewable schemes could generate potential funds for energy efficiency and the new law, coupled with the Local Government in Scotland Act could allow the Council to tackle fuel poverty in rural areas.
Iris Hawkins, Chair of the Council’s Infrastructure Committee, said:
“This change will potentially allow another funding source for renewable energy projects and could encourage Council or partnership projects that will see more of the revenue generated being retained by the Council for the further benefit of Shetland as a whole, including development of further energy efficiency initiatives.”
Secretary of State The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP said:
“For too long, Whitehall’s dogmatic reliance on ‘big’ energy has stood in the way of the vast potential role of local authorities in the UK’s green energy revolution.
“Forward thinking local authorities such as the Shetland Islands have been quietly getting on with it, but against the odds, their efforts frustrated by the law.
“I’ve taken the early step of overturning the ban on local authorities selling renewable electricity to the grid.
“I’ve today written to all council chief execs urging them to take advantage and lead a local energy revolution.
“This is a vital step to making community renewable projects commercially viable, to bring in long-term income to benefit local areas, and to secure local acceptance for low carbon energy projects.”
Notes for editors
At present only 0.01% of electricity in England is generated by local authorities, despite the scope that exists to install projects on their land and buildings.
In one of the first actions of the coalition government, a ban on local authorities selling renewable electricity, dating back to 1976, will end on 18 August. This will open up the full benefit of renewable energy incentives such as the feed-in tariff.