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Islanders offered ‘£400 cut in energy bills’ if windfarm goes ahead

Islanders living close to a new wind farm proposed for the north of Skye are being offered up to £400 a year off their energy bills if the development goes ahead.

Around 80 households within 2.5miles of the Ben Sca wind farm near Edinbane could benefit from the proposals by renewables firm Wind2.

Residents living in the shadows of the nine-turbine development could alternatively chose a single payment of up to £4,500 towards improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

A planning application for the windfarm has now been lodged with Highland Council.

Fraser Mackenzie, development director at Wind2, said: “We believe that our project can deliver significant social, economic and environmental benefits to the Isle of Skye and the wider Highland economy.

“There was clear feedback from those who attended the exhibitions and from those we spoke to on the doorstep in and around Edinbane that energy costs were a real concern.

“Our energy discount proposal is a practical and tangible response to this message”.

The Ben Sca windfarm will sit between nearby developments Ben Aketil and Edinbane if it is built.

Ben Sca would have a significant impact on the landscape of two surrounding areas of character – Greshnornich and the Loch Snizort coastal area as well as Bracadale, an assessment found.

Alistair Danter, of Skye Connect, which supports business and tourism development, said there had been a ‘sea change’ in opinion towards wind farms on Skye.

“There has been a sea change in opinion towards wind farms since Ben Aketil and Edinbane were built and I think they are now regarded as part of everyday life.”

However he said the cumulative effect of a number of planned wind farms remained unknown.

He added: “The other big unknown is the proposed upgrade to the link from Skye to the National Grid and when it will actually happen, until it does none of the proposed schemes can go forward”.

Wind2 confirmed that Ben Sca couldn’t operate at full capacity until improvements were made to the National Grid connection.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said a major upgrade would be completed by the end of 2025 with plans to be unveiled on the island in coming months.