Mark McDonald, MSP for Aberdeen Donside, addresses the Scottish Parliament on 15 March. Watch the video below and click "read more" to view the text of the speech.
- Mark McDonald (Aberdeen Donside) (SNP): The minister mentioned in his speech the vision of local and community involvement. Does he see opportunities for much greater community ownership of and involvement in renewable energy provision as a consequence of community empowerment legislation?
- Fergus Ewing: Yes, I do. We have reached our target of 500MW by 2020. Let me give you a practical example: The Point and Sandwick wind farm in the Western Isles is the largest wholly community-owned wind project, at 9MW. The revenue from that project is £1 million a year. What a tremendous contribution to communities for future generations—£1 million a year! What a tremendous achievement.
To answer Mark McDonald’s question, of course we want the opportunities of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2014 to be maximised. That act encourages and supports enterprising community developments. The problem is that the UK Government’s abrupt and savage cuts to fixed tariffs make that project much more difficult. That was the very clear message from the CARES conference at which I spoke earlier today