Lerwick Power Station is set to close by 2021 with the loss of 25 permanent jobs in the islands. The energy regulator Ofgem has forced power company SSE to serve Shetland's customers with power from a cable laid on the seabed from Dounreay rather than building a new power station. Backup power will be dependent on a series of diesel powered generators if the cable breaks.
Tavish Scott met Lerwick Power Station manager Darren Hitchin last week and was told yesterday (Monday) by SSE that the plant would close.
"This is a disastrous policy for Shetland and we must not accept this very bad decision. Ofgem do not care about local jobs, people or an island community. Ofgem are only interested in money. Our future energy needs will be dependent on a seabed cable. What happens when that breaks? We will then be reliant on a diesel generator. So much for security of supply. This is the ultimate in decisions made by faceless bureaucrats who don't care about the islands.
"I am devastated for the 25 hardworking men and women who work for the Hydro in Lerwick and across Shetland. Five young apprenticeships depend on the power station as do five more contracting jobs. This team work hard for Shetland. This is the thanks they get. The power station puts millions of pounds into the islands economy. Why should these good jobs, and the commitment of the local hydro staff be sacrificed on the high alter of right wing free market economics? Ofgem who know the price of everything and the value of nothing should be ashamed of themselves. Shetland will lose for ever these highly skilled, much valued positions. That is disastrous.
"Shetland should oppose this bad decision. I will work with the islands council and other organisations who want better for our islands in this. Above all I will fight for the men and women who in a few years time, will be out of a job."