Windfarms throughout the Western Isles have been unable to supply power to the national grid since the main power line to the Outer Hebrides was swept away by a landslip at Invergarry on Monday November 12th.

That was explained by Point and Sandwick Power director Calum Macdonald during wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust’s Annual General Meeting last night (Tuesday, November 20).

The Point Football Club’s Ionad Stoodie at Seaview Terrace on Point was crowded as members and guests gathered for the usual reports and appointments.

Calum explained that while income from the PSP windfarm at Beinn Ghrideag had risen because of the rise in energy prices generally, the amount of power generated had fallen. This was of the weather over the summer months and because one of the three turbines had been unable to generate power from May through to the start of November. 

It started running successfully again on November 8th– but then the landslide came, and while the power cuts were short-lived, all the wind turbines on the island are unable to supply any power until the line is restored, which is expected to be achieved next week.

Calum explained the problem inside their turbine had been very serious – “basically it burned out” – and Shane Wilmott from Enercon, the company which maintains the PSP turbines, said that they had agreed with the makers of the turbines that the generating unit would be replaced next year to guarantee its longevity and this would be done by Enercon at no cost to the power company.

Calum said that the windfarm earned about £2.8m in the year and this made it possible to pay off around £800,000 in interest payments. There was now a plan to refinance this by December and reduce the costs.  In addition, about £1m in debt from the development of the project had been repaid, cutting the total from £13m to £12m. 

Enercon Services UK currently maintains around 850 turbines in different parts of the UK on 350 sites, including around 60 in the Western Isles.

Picture: Shane Wilmott from Enercon speaking to the meeting