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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Council Carries Motion to Negotiate With Renewable Energy Firms & Ensure Fairer Deal for Communities  

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Highland Council last week carried a motion which aims to ensure the region’s communities reap fairer reward for renewable energy generated in Highland.

Members at last week’s full meeting of Highland Council agreed a motion which called for the local authority to negotiate with renewable energy companies to ensure a fair financial settlement, which would enhance investment opportunities and support communities who live alongside renewable facilities.

Members accept that the use of Highland’s natural resources for the generation of power is vital to the whole of the United Kingdom economy and the combined income from all renewable energy schemes in the Highlands continues to grow year on year.

Plans for new power generation projects are also very likely to accelerate in the coming months and years, with the numerous wind, hydro and solar plants projected to come online.

Members agreed that while some individual communities have benefitted to some extent from these developments, they argued that “there has been no fiscal or strategic benefit to the Council area as a whole despite the massive profits being generated.”

After seconding the motion the Convener of Highland Council, Cllr Bill Lobban, said:

“It is only right and proper that Highland Council begins negotiations with all renewable energy producers to ensure a fair financial settlement.

“Negotiations have the potential to provide the Council with funds with which to invest in facilities and infrastructure Highland-wide and in turn make a real difference to the lives of people across Highland.”

Members were also discussing Item 13 on the full Council agenda which focused on Renewable Investment in Solar and Battery Storage.

They noted the progress made to date by officers in evaluating and identifying both the cost-saving and income generation potential of further development of the Council’s Solar PV assets.

They also agreed the development of a business case for the creation of a solar PPA self-generation model and the development of a business case for the creation of utility grade sites identified as viable to a full business plan for development potential in both solar and battery storage.

On 31 May 2023 a report on Renewable Investment in Solar and Battery Storage was presented to the Redesign Board.

Members agreed all recommendations.

The Redesign Board agreed to bring a proposal to Council with the recommendation to proceed with developing a detailed investment business case, which was agreed at last week’s meeting.

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