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Lords may probe windfarm refusal  

Economic affairs committee’s remit on renewable energy may touch on Lewis decision

A Lords committee may investigate the reasons behind the Scottish Government’s decision to block plans for Europe’s biggest windfarm on Lewis.

The economic affairs committee is to examine renewable energy.

The refusal has already sparked demands for emergency economic aid for the islands, where the local authority had hoped the development would rejuvenate the economy of the Hebrides.

The committee will also examine the potential economic advantages of large-scale subsea tidal stream power from the Pentland Firth.

A committee spokesman said members want to find out more about the proposed scheme on Barvas Moor on Lewis and the reasons why it was rejected.

He said the committee was particularly interested in the overall cost and benefits of such large-scale schemes and how they stack up against conventional energy sources.

The investigation was launched by chairman Lord Vallance of Tummel.

He said: “Renewable energy is expected to play an important role in reducing carbon emissions but we know comparatively little about the possible costs and benefits. Our committee will analyse in detail the potential costs and benefits of an increased use of renewable energy sources and how they stack up against non-renewable sources.”

An official said the committee would also look into the costs of carbon capture and storage following the government’s decision not to subsidise the development of “clean power generation”.

The UK Government’s refusal to promise financial support killed off the proposed BP and Scottish and Southern carbon capture development in Peterhead.

Revised proposals went before councillors because fresh environmental information had to be considered before that inquiry.

Would-be developer Nick Oppenheim initially applied for 133 turbines. He later reduced it to 57, and the council cut it by a further four.

About 87% of people surveyed in the Kinloch district have objected to the scheme.

But now councillors have reaffirmed their support for a scheme. Because of the size of the project, Scottish Government ministers will make the final decision.

By David Perry

The Press and Journal

28 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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