The John Muir Trust today condemned large scale wind developments in the Western Isles as being ‘uneconomic’ and urged the government to focus green energy generation near the populations where it is most needed.
Today is the last day of the Public Inquiry into the Beinn Mhor Power proposal for a 53 turbine wind development in Eisgein Estate, Lewis.
Helen McDade, Head of Policy for the John Muir Trust (JMT) said: “At the moment large scale wind developments on the Western Isles arecostly, inefficient and hugely damaging for one of Scotland’s most
spectacular areas of wild land.
“It is high time that the government woke up to the fact that we should be generating our power closer to home rather than artificially subsidising an otherwise doomed industry.”
The Trust estimates that the interconnector that is needed between Lewis and the mainland to build the Beinn Mhor wind farm increases the development’s capital costs by at least 40%.
JMT say that although wind turbines are estimated to generate 15% to 20% more energy in the Western Isles than in the Central Belt the costs of transmission, including the lost energy from having to transport it such large distances, more than outweighs this advantage. The extra costs will have to be passed on to consumers.
The body says that large scale wind developments on the Western Isles which require a new interconnector are only made viable because transmission is subsidised by electricity consumers and the developers won’t pay the full costs.
Ms McDade said: “This is a vastly expensive and hugely wasteful way of going about generating our renewable energy.”
Scotland is on target to meet its renewable targets without building large
scale wind developments on the Western Isles.
Professor Andrew Bain who gave evidence for JMT at the inquiry estimates that Scotland needs a further 2000 MW of wind power to meet the Government’s target of 50% power from renewables by 2020.
JMT say that there is currently 1600 MW of green power under appeal, another 3000 MW in the planning system and a further 2500 MW at the scoping stage. This means that there is a potential total of 7000 MW of power waiting to be decided on.
Even allowing for those schemes that are denied planning permission there should be no problem reaching the 2,000 MW target.
Ms McDade concluded: “A combination of energy efficiency measures and more green electricity production near where it is required will meet our renewable targets without disfiguring the landscapes which make the Western Isles so special
22 May 2008
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