The UK government has announced that renewable energy schemes based on Scottish islands (like the Western Isles) will be given a higher subsidy than its mainland counterparts. This effectively is an incentive to build onshore windfarms in the islands. This means that the interconnector, the subsea electricity cable taking the power to the mainland, will now be constructed as will the windfarms in Eishken and elsewhere.
This blogger has consistently spoken out against onshore windfarms in
these islands. This decision is particularly galling, as the
groundswell of public opinion has changed markedly in recent years. An
increasing number of onshore windfarms on the mainland have been denied
planning permission in the face of mounting public opposition. To my
mind, the British government have designated the Scottish islands as the
dumping ground for those renewable energy projects (read: windfarms)
that nobody else wants, and which are nothing more than paying
lipservice to the notion of green energy. Windfarms are inefficient and
unreliable sources of energy (the last few days have shown how variable
our windspeeds are).
This is a bad decision for our islands, who don’t stand to gain
anything like what the development companies will be getting in terms of
subsidies and revenue. We’re getting the beads and mirrors whilst our
resources are being plundered. I’m not talking about wind energy. Having
windturbines around destroys the wilderness aspect that lures so many
tourists to these islands. It’s tourism that’s the mainstay of these
islands’ economy, stupid. The windfarm in Eishken will yield a few
million pounds in community benefit, once Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have
worked out how to apply for charitable status for the relevant trust body that is supposed to receive those benefits.
Over the next two years, we’ll see a large fleet of construction
vehicles on our roads. Over the next quarter century, the skyline of the
Long Island will be marred by a large number of windturbines.
Employment prospects for island workers will be low during the
construction phase and negligible afterwards. We will not have the
benefit of lower electricity prices. We only stand to lose from this