Sir Donald Miller, the former chairman of energy giant ScottishPower, has attacked the plan to build Europe’s largest wind farm on Lewis.
In a letter to The Herald, published today, Sir Donald claims the total cost to consumers for wind power could far exceed the amount for a mix of nuclear, coal and gas power stations.
He writes: “For a 400MW wind farm on Lewis, the extra cost to electricity consumers would be more than £60m per annum, a figure which, I would suggest, is far in excess of any benefits to the island’s population.” He also suggests the wind farm will impact negatively upon tourism.
Sir Donald’s remarks are a response to an open letter to Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, published in The Herald on Monday. Letter signatories – including Stephen Boyd, assistant secretary of STUC and Iain McMillan, director of CBI Scotland – insisted the £500m project was vital for the area’s economic future.
Sir Donald’s letter adds: “There are less-quantifiable costs to society, in general, for the loss of visual amenity and for the damage to the environment. Part of these costs will be reflected in a reduction in tourist activity. Surely it would make more economic sense to support, directly, investment in infrastructure, transport and industry to create permanent job prospects at a fraction of the cost and at the same time preserve the landscape and tourist industry.”
Island officials are seeking a meeting with Scottish Natural Heritage in a last-ditch attempt to save the wind farm plan. Councillors want to see if the agency will change its approach to European environmental directives.
By Alison Chiesa
8 February 2008
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