Orkney is on the cusp of a brand new industry as trial technology in marine renewables takes a step forward in the islands – but fears are growing that grid costs are too high for it to have long-term benefit.
Hundreds of people are already employed in the renewables sector, and with Orkney at the forefront of developments such as wave power and tidal energy, it is expected to boost the local economy further.
But there are concerns that high grid charges could ruin many of the projects which are currently in the pipeline.
Leading energy firm Scotrenewables have applied to develop a tidal farm off Orkney – but local communities face paying up to six times the cost of connecting to the grid compared to the mainland.
Barry Johnston, of Scotrenewables, said: “I think there is in the region of about 200 to 300 jobs created in renewables up here and a growing number of turbines and wave and tidal devices are on test just now.
“I think it has made a huge change to the number of people having professional jobs so it is having a great effect overall.
“In terms of the financial aspect, it is a massive deal what we have to pay and could potentially kill off the industry here in the future.”
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