A renewable energy trade body has called for the Hebrides and the northern isles to be connected to the National Grid before 2020.
Scottish Renewables has urged the Scottish and UK governments to act so the country can benefit from wind and marine power generated in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
The body set out the green energy industry’s expectations for a post-referendum UK in a paper published yesterday
Titled Harnessing Scotland’s Energy, it details six key areas which the country’s £1billion-a-year renewable energy sector would like addressed.
They include energy policy, regulation, shared ownership, marine energy funding and the Crown Estate.
Scottish Renewables’ chief executive, Niall Stuart, addressed the organisation’s Marine Conference in Inverness yesterday.
“Given the importance of the contribution that Scotland and the other devolved nations will make to the UK’s energy ambitions, we believe that it is time for a more co-ordinated and strategic approach to the formation of energy policy across the UK,” he added.
“This should reflect our respective strengths, resources and priorities, and be designed to deliver the optimal energy mix for the UK as we seek to keep down costs for consumers, increase energy security and cut carbon emissions.
“If there is one obvious failure of the current regulation of our industry – the lack of grid connections to Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles, home to the country’s best wind resources, and key to the development of wave and tidal power.
“We want to see the Scottish and UK governments commit to getting the islands connected before 2020.”
Mr Stewart said the infrastructure would allow the islands to contribute to the clean-up of the energy sector while benefiting from the jobs and investment that would follow.
He added that there should be changes to the governance of regulator Ofgem to ensure greater alignment between the energy policies and priorities of the nations of the UK.
Mr Stewart said a Scottish commissioner should be appointed to the Ofgem Board and an annual report ought to be laid before the Scottish Parliament.