The prize is considerable. Abundant resources mean wind farm technology on the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney could make a huge contribution to the UK's renewable energy industry.

In the Western Isles alone, schemes already subject to consents and contracts hold out the prospect of some £7 million in benefits to local communities. Projects already on the cards would deliver 700 jobs in construction and around 150 permanently - these are not trivial figures in the local context.

But that is just the immediate term. If energy minister Fergus Ewing is to be believed, Scotland's island economies could benefit from up to £725m over the next 25 years, if wind, wave and tidal projects are implemented.

A report by the Scottish Government last month found the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland could potentially supply up to five per cent of total electricity demand in the UK market by 2030.

The catch? The islands have no way at present of exporting it. Interconnectors are needed to help make windfarms and other renewable power schemes viable by connecting them to the grid.

Complex negotiations to ensure large viable island projects help contribute to the cost of such interconnectors have taken place. Crucially, the problem of ensuring government subsidy for the same schemes doesn't fall foul of EU state aid regulations, also seemed to have been addressed.

Meanwhile it was believed that Scottish schemes would not be affected by the Conservative manifesto pledge to cut the UK Government's onshore windfarm subsidies, as they are recognised in a category of their own.

So why is the Department of Energy and Climate Change not pressing ahead with the crucial construction projects needed? It is not clear. UK energy Secretary Amber Rudd has so far not lodged formal notification with the EU that the government is to proceed with the vital grid connections.

Time is not unlimited. Contracts will lapse, the cost of sitting waiting in limbo will render viable projects uneconomic.

Whatever the reason for the government's foot-dragging, we cannot afford for this crucial infrastructure to be further delayed.

Although the Conservatives were elected on a manifesto pledge of ending onshore windfarm subsidies from April 1st this year, the indication had been that Scottish island projects would be exempt.

The UK government must make clear whether it has submitted formal notification of its intention to press ahead with the interconnector programme. If it has not, it must explain why not.

If Scottish green technology is to be undermined by anti-wind farm sentiment born in the leafy shires of England, the reaction is likely to be furious.

Wind farms have their opponents in Scotland too, but this country has repeatedly elected parties to Holyrood and Westminster which support the technology. Energy subsidy may be reserved, but failure to deliver on the promised support for schemes which are already well advanced wold be catastrophic.

Initially, there are lucrative wind farm projects at stake which could help local economies and export green energy to the rest of the UK. But the interconnector schemes will unlock the potential of other developing technologies in wave and tidal power too, with potentially huge economic, employment and environmental benefits for Scotland, for decades to come.