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Giant windfarm for Stornoway gets go-ahead

Plans for a major £220 million giant wind farm on the outskirts of Stornoway have been approved by the Scottish Government.

The developers, Lewis Wind Power (LWP) – a partnership between Amec and French government-owned EDF Energy – will erect 36 giant turbines on moorland off the Lochs Road, adjacent to a busy tourist route.

It is reckoned the Stornoway Windfarm will support 75 jobs in the Western Isles and generate contracts worth £40 million for the local economy.

It also strengthens the case for the Western Isles sub-sea cable, which will free up the area’s renewable potential to generate electricity for the mainland, including for emerging marine energy technologies.

The original application had 42 turbines, but the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage raised concerns about the potential impact on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area.

The developer worked with these groups to find a solution and Energy Minister Fergus Ewing Ewing withheld consent for the six turbines which would impact most on the area.

The 130 MW windfarm is a smaller replacement scheme for earlier controversial plans for a £700 million network of 181 huge turbines on neighbouring land. The original proposal was thrown out in 2008 after a mass protest campaign involving thousands of people.

Fergus Ewing said: “I’m delighted to consent the Stornoway wind farm, which will represent a significant boost to the economy of the Western Isles and create jobs during construction and in the longer term.

“Once it is up and running the wind farm will save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, and will produce enough electricity to power more than 60,000 homes.

“I am confident that the wind farm will provide great benefits to its local community and play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of electricity demand generated from renewables.

“I am particularly pleased that the developer was able to work with SNH and RSPB to develop proposals which allowed this wind farm to go ahead whilst minimising affects on Lewis’ important natural heritage.

“In consenting this application I have put in place a series of conditions to protect the outstanding natural habitats and landscapes and local communities.”