Contact newsdesk on:

Classified adverts   I   Jobs                               

Small Ads & Local Services    


Hebrides News


The timetable over introducing a special island windfarm subsidy to pave the way for building large turbine schemes on Lewis looks likely to stretch towards 2020.

Two further consultations are now to take place before Western Isles windfarm schemes have a chance of proceeding.

The UK government axed all subsidies for onshore turbines but indicated it would make an exception for the Scottish islands.

None of the three large wind schemes planned for Lewis nor proposed clusters of community turbines will be built without financial support to compensate for the high export costs - up to seven times higher than from the Highlands - to send island generated electricity to southern markets.

Without the subsidy it seems highly likely developers will abandon plans for island windfarms with the knock-on effect of scrapping a proposed subsea cable to export electricity to the mainland.

No turbine would be built in the absence of an interconnector to the mainland.

The government consulted earlier this year over providing a special islands’ subsidy scheme.

Now Energy Minister Richard Harrington intends to launch two parallel consultations around "Remote Island Wind" and how projects can deliver benefits to the community.


State aid clearance from the European Commission would be required to sanction an island wind subsidy category.

If the green light is received from the EU, the next stage would be to get legislation through the House of Commons.

However, given the volume of Brexit work this might have timetabling issues, delaying the final outcome.


Island politicians and renewable energy representatives met with Richard Harrington and Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse over the issue.


MP Angus MacNeil said: “The issues of particular interest to the minister are: what the scope of community would be, how community or communities money would be controlled and on what basis could communities as a whole or community members access funds. All is under consideration.”


Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s development director Calum Iain Maciver said: “The minister and his officials were positive about prospects for the islands and they were keen to hear how the islands could benefit from the establishment of a renewables industry.”


Island representatives highlighted the minister the transformative economic potential of renewables, the strategic goal of ensuring that communities across the Western Isles benefit from the establishment of the new industry, the various types of benefits that will accrue as well as the different types of methodologies for disbursing these benefits, said Mr Maciver.


“There are still a range of challenges to be worked through, but the meeting with Mr Harrington has reinvigorated prospects for Island renewables.


“There now appears to be a broad consensus between the UK and Scottish Governments, the three island local authorities and the developer community that progress can and will be made.


“The comhairle will continue to work hard over the next period to help deliver on the potential arising from the meeting.”


More consultations over islands’ wind farm subsidy

5 Sept 2017