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A proposal to buy around 20 turbines from large corporate windfarms on Lewis is being explored.


The comhairle and Stornoway Trust are looking at ways of taking up offers to purchase stakes in two private developments.


Up to 20% of the Stornoway windfarm project is available to the trust while a maximum 30% share in the Uisenis windfarm at Eishken in South Lochs has been negotiated by the local authority.


Both proposed renewable energy developments are owned by Lewis Wind Power (LWP).


LWP - a joint venture between Amec Foster Wheeler and EDF Energy Renewables - already has planning permission to build 36 turbines outside Stornoway.


Consent has also been secured to install 45 generators on the Eishken estate.


LWP says the joint capacity of up to 342MW is a crucial part of building the case for a subsea cable to the mainland - essential to make sure electricity can be exported from the island into the wider UK electricity grid.


Roddie Mackay, leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said the purchase opportunity offers “unprecedented community potential.”

Mr Mackay said: “These are substantial ownership stakes, which have the potential, depending on the final configuration of the projects, of putting close around 75MW of clean, green, electricity generation into community ownership.”


He stressed: “Working with a major developer removes all pre-implementation risk from the community.  


“Given that planning consents and grid connection contracts are already in place it offers the most effective, low-cost, low-risk way for communities to get involved in renewable energy generation.”


The council leader highlighted: “We now need to build on that potential and so I am pleased to announce that the comhairle and the Stornoway Trust have agreed to explore the establishment of a joint venture vehicle to bring the two ownership stakes together to allow us to achieve economies and to ensure that the potential for ownership within our community is maximised.”


He added: “I think this partnership between the trust and the comhairle, as the two largest democratic bodies in the Outer Hebrides, represents a significant step forward.  


“Over the next period we will be working together to build the most efficient model in order to deliver benefits to all communities across the Outer Hebrides.


“As we develop the model there will be opportunities for communities across the Outer Hebrides to join with the comhairle and the trust to participate in this opportunity and we will have more to say on that in due course.”




Comhairle and Stornoway Trust explore windfarm ownership

6 February 2018

Artist's impression of the Eisken windfarm