The developer behind plans to create one of Europe’s largest wind farms has signed an agreement which could see the towers for the turbines built on Lewis.
Barvas Moor on the island in the Western Isles is the proposed site for 181 turbines.
Lewis Wind Power (LWP) and turbine manufacturer REpower UK’s agreement is dependent on planning permission from the Scottish Government.
RSPB Scotland, which is opposed to the development, said the deal was “spin”.
The agreement is currently in the form of a memorandum of understanding,
It would see an order for more than 150 turbines from Edinburgh-based REpower.
LWP said this opened the way for the towers to be manufactured at Arnish, a fabrication yard near Stornoway, Lewis.
David Hodkinson, LWP director, said the arrangement underlined the company’s commitment to making a “significant contribution” to the economies of Scotland and the Western Isles.
He added: “We believe the scale of economic opportunity presented by the Lewis Wind Farm exceeds that delivered by any other wind project in Scotland to date.”
Henning von Barsewisch, managing director of REpower UK, said the potential role of Arnish would be of great importance to his company in its work providing wind power for Scotland.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) has given its approval for 176 of the 181 turbines proposed.
The final decision on planning permission lies with the Scottish Government.
Last week, Scottish Enterprise Secretary Jim Mather – speaking to interviewer Lesley Riddoch on BBC Radio Scotland – said a decision was due “very shortly”.
RSPB Scotland said that while orders for Arnish were welcome and efforts to combat climate change important, the development would destroy a huge area of north Lewis peat lands.
The charity said the Scottish Government should “not to be swayed by the spin of developers”.
Campaigner Dinah Murray, who organised a petition among crofters in north Lewis which warned they were opposed to the plan, said she would be shocked if approval was given to the wind farm in its present form.
She added: “This is very, very important and well designated area of land.”
16 January 2008
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