A bid to build 42 huge turbines on the busiest islands’ tourist route is being lodged today.
The developers, Lewis Wind Power (LWP) – a partnership between Amec and French government-owned EDF Energy – want to erect the £225 million scheme on moorland off the Lochs Road on the edge of Stornoway.
Hebrides News reported last year that up to eight turbines – up to 20% of the development – would also be available for the community to buy into the project.
But the turbines are not being gifted and could cost up to £30 million to buy – an important point not made clear by community landowner Stornoway Trust and the developer.
The proposal for the 151 MW scheme has angered crofters after it emerged the community-owned Stornoway Trust signed over a deal committing common grazings to the huge development for decades.
Many feel the community-owned Stornoway Trust should have led by example and progressed its own wholly operated small scale wind scheme where all the profits would be reinvested locally.
The Trust claims it is to complex to undertake but ironically Point and Sandwick Power are building the UK’s largest community wind scheme in the same location.
Former isles’ MP Calum Macdonald, now chief executive of Point Power, has called for the establishment of new legislation to prevent landowners – whetever community bodies or private landlords – from blocking crofters’ wind schemes. Mr Macdonald says a Crofters’ Renewable Act should give crofters the right to harness the wind over their own common grazings.
Ron Peddie, Project Director for Lewis Wind Power said: the developer is committed to using “local manufacturing, construction and engineering companies wherever possible means that everyone in the Western Isles stands to gain from the construction of this wind farm if it is consented.”
The construction phase is said to directly support 196 jobs in the Western Isles and a further 181 in the rest of Scotland, mostly associated with engineering, construction and manufacturing.
In total, over 790 jobs could be created during the construction and operation of the Stornoway Wind Farm, with approximately 240 of these being based on the Western Isles.
A further 25 jobs could be supported in the Western Isles as a consequence of the community fund, lease payments and compensatory payments to crofters.