Island communities represent key potential arenas for marine renewable energy (MRE) because of their tidal, wave and off-shore wind resources. However, although MRE developments could offer remote island communities significant economic benefits, limited research exists on community attitudes towards MRE or, crucially, the main factors shaping responses. Research in the Shetlands, Orkneys and Scillies (UK) revealed generally positive attitudes towards MRE but also that attitudes were strongly shaped by place-related values, not just the direct socio-economic and environmental credentials of proposed locations. Developments that complemented established place values were more likely to gain acceptance whereas conflicts with these values was often a major reason for concerns about MRE. The results are used to argue for greater attention to place-related values in decision-making and community engagement on MRE developments.