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Where now for wind energy?  

Lewis plans turned down

The decision by the Scottish Government to scupper controversial plans for Europe’s biggest windfarm on Lewis raises many questions about the country’s future energy policy, but fails to give clear answers.

There are so many contradictory issues at play in this complex application, which has far-reaching effects for similar plans elsewhere in Scotland.

Much was made by the windfarm’s backers of the huge potential economic benefits for the Western Isles. Yet the plan attracted nearly 11,000 written objections, mostly from islanders themselves, many of whom feared their lifestyle and natural environment would be ruined catastrophically by the sheer scale of the project.

This appears to be democracy in action, but in the end it was EU environmental laws which allowed SNP ministers to bow to the islanders’ wishes and fend off big business. Green renewable energy projects and windfarms are still high on the political agenda, however, and it will not be long before the developers return with new plans for the Western Isles or the mainland Highlands. Other wind projects are also pending across the region, so where does this leave them?

Recently, Alex Salmond and his SNP ministers rejected any new nuclear power stations on Scottish soil. At the time, he said Scotland could be a world leader in green energy and renewables would meet 50% of the county’s needs by 2020.

While acknowledging the special needs of the Lewis community, one wonders what the future is now for renewable wind energy in the Highlands and how it will meet Scotland’s future requirements, especially with traditional energy supplies in such a precarious state.

The Press and Journal

22 April 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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