View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 29 June 2015

No Eishken windfarm

Local journalist Iain Maciver has revealed that power company GDF / Suez has cancelled the construction of the 39-turbine windfarm in the Eishken district of Lewis. The reasons appear to be that the procrastination over the building of the high voltage sub-sea electricity cable (interconnector) was one of the main reasons. The economic case for said cable has always been flimsy, and is now no longer viable. What renewable energy schemes are left in the island, including the 26-turbine windfarm to the northeast in Pairc, are insufficient to make the case for the cable.

Since 2005, I have been very vocal in my opposition to any large-scale windfarms in Lewis, particularly on the now defunct Arnish Lighthouse blog. The 180-turbine North Lewis windfarm was scuttled in 2008, after it was found to be in breach of an EU habitat directive that is in place for the central moorlands of the island. Any plans for a resurrection on a smaller scale are now at least in doubt.

There is a silver lining for those to whom this news constitutes a cloud. A cancellation clause means that £2 million pounds of community benefit will be transferred to community groups, who were due to receive £1m annually, had the windfarm materialised.