May 23, 2008

Community trustees installed by developer

The public inquiry into the Eisgein wind farm heard evidence from Iain Maciver of Laxay.

He told the inquiry that he “wore a number of hats” which was a common feature public life in a small community.

Mr Maciver is one of three people appointed to the Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust (MCWT) by developer Mr Oppenheim who set up the body.

He said the development would provide work for women in technical positions and environmental assessment jobs as well as for men.

Mr Maciver said there were plenty of people willing to work for the development

Though the information has been reported in the public domain over the years, the parties at the inquiry asked about the terms of the sub-lease for the community windfarm.

He explained that the community trust (MCWT) gets six free sites out of the current 53 generator scheme and would have to finance their own development.

Mr Maciver explained: “If it drops to 48 (turbines) the community share is five (sites).

Only two sites will be awarded under the smaller sub-set scheme which has already secured planning permission for 13 turbines on the slopes of Feiriosbhal.

Mr Maciver stressed that MCWT will receive the same deal over financing and construction as the developer’s company Beinn Mhòr Power though it is free to seek a better offer elsewhere.

He said: “The only restraint is on the turbines. We have to use the same model of turbine.”

He pointed out that the agreement means that the Trust’s sites will be decided by lot.

Mr Maciver said the Trust could “go into the market and get the finance the same way as any developer of a windfarm.”

He said the community scheme would have its own value if planning permission was granted; finance could be obtained on such an asset.

He said in a worst case scenario the community would have a 18 MW development and could sell it for its value.

Mr Maciver said: “In due course there will be an election for trustees” to MCWT.

He explained that the current trustees approached Mr Oppenheim and asked for positions on the trust.

Hebrides News

22 May 2008

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