February 8, 2008

Former ScottishPower chair attacks Lewis wind farm plan

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

The Herald

8 February 2008

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2008/02/08/former-scottishpower-chair-attacks-lewis-wind-farm-plan/