The Muaitheabhal Wind Farm - promoted by Uisenis Power Limited - has been successful in the UK Contracts for Difference auction.

A CfD has been awarded to one other developer in the Outer Hebrides - Druim Leathann Windfarm, at Tolsta. 

However, Lewis Windpower was unsuccessful in their bid for the Stornoway Windfarm.

In a statement today (Friday September 20th) responding to the notification of the outcome of the third Contract for Difference Allocation round, Mark Vyvyan-Robinson, Lewis Wind Power director, said: “Obviously, we are all incredibly disappointed not to have secured a Contract for Difference after a huge amount of work by the team to make the project as competitive as possible.

“We now need to take some time to look at all the options for the project, and to assess what we believe to be the best way forward for the wind farm. We will keep our partners and the local community updated as we work our way through these options.”

Almost exactly three years Lewis Wind Power (LWP), a joint venture between Amec Foster Wheeler and EDF Energy Renewables, bought the Uisenis Wind Farm project.  The wind farm has planning consent for the development of 45 turbines with a maximum capacity of 189 MW. This would be enough to power 125,000+ homes.

But then in May this year, LWP transferred ownership of the Uisenis project to the Oppenheim family, owners of Eishken estate where the project is situated, and it is now controlled by a company based in Liechtenstein.

The CfD scheme is the UK Government’s main mechanism for supporting low-carbon electricity generation and the awarding of contracts to local developers will provide them with the confidence to build out their projects.

Councillor Roddie MacKay, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: “It is good news that two out of three local developers have achieved a CfD. 

"It is hugely disappointing, however, that Stornoway Wind Farm  has not achieved a CfD.  We will be speaking to developers to understand how they wish to proceed in light of this news.  We will be speaking to SSE and Ofgem to see what their proposals are to connect the CfD projects and the pipeline projects to the grid. 

"We will also be urgently engaging with the UK Government to ensure they make good on their promise to deliver an inter-connector to the Outer Hebrides.”

Commenting on the outcome of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round 3, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil MP said: "Whilst it is good news that two Lewis wind farms have been successful in CfD Round 3 it is disappointing that Lewis Wind Power has not achieved a CfD.

"The strike price of between £39 -£41 is exceedingly low and this combined with the failure of Lewis Wind Power to make the list raises questions about the viability of a Hebridean Interconnector.

“At just 240 MW the two successful applications, Tolsta and Eishken, are well below the 369-400MW needed for the Interconnector to the mainland. Orkney and Shetland fared no better with Orkney’s two successful applications reaching only 37MW of the 135MW needed and Shetland seeing no successful applications at all.

“Scottish Islands have the best wind resources in Europe and this is a missed opportunity. This is not good news for the UK ‘s move from carbon to cleaner energy. While young people campaign all over the country to protect the climate the UK government fail again to make best use of our natural resources  It would appear that far from working together Ofgem and the UK Government have no joined up thinking and appear to have competing aims.

“I have already spoken to SSE this morning and I will also be contacting Ofgem. At this stage it is unclear what impact this decision will have on Island renewables but is undoubtedly disappointing for those unsuccessful applicants. The UK Government and Ofgem have to get their act together if decarbonisation is to successfully happen.”

SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Alasdair Allan also expressed his disappointment at the results of the UK Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round 3.

“I am disappointed at the outcome of this UK government CfD auction round.  The race to the bottom caused by this convoluted process has meant that this outcome has potentially very serious implications for the Western Isles Interconnector and the renewable energy ambitions across the island communities.

“I will continue to raise my concerns regarding this outcome, and process, directly with the relevant UK Ministers and agencies.  As will my Westminster colleague, Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, whose work is largely responsible for the island developers being able to bid at all.”

“I will also liaise with the relevant Scottish Ministers and agencies who continue to press the UK agencies to help fulfil the renewable energy ambitions of the islands of Scotland.”

While welcoming news of the Druim Leathann project’s success, The Stornoway Trust said it is disappointed that Lewis Wind Power has not been successful in securing a contract. It was always the case that this would be a highly competitive exercise, and it is unfortunate that LWP were not amongst the successful bidders.  Nonetheless, the Trust welcomes the fact that in addition to Druim Leathann, the Uisinis project has been successful in its bid.

Trust Chairman, Norman A Maciver commented: ‘We were aware of the fact that remote island wind projects were competing against others which do not share the disadvantages faced by island communities. It was not a level playing field in that sense. Shetland’s Viking project is – ostensibly – in the same situation as the Stornoway Wind Farm, and we sympathise with them, given their community’s £10 million expenditure to get to this point’.

The result of the auction is unsettling for projected community renewable energy plans in the Western Isles.

Norman A Maciver continued:‘One of our concerns as landlord has always been the pivotal contribution that the Stornoway Wind Farm project makes to the case for the interconnector, upon which these and other anticipated community wind farm schemes depend. Aside from the economic benefits inherent in the development, it would open the door for community and other alternative energy projects to be established. As things stand, the future looks a lot less certain for remote island wind now, though, given today’s outcome’.

The way ahead may not become clear until sufficient time has elapsed for reflection on today’s disappointing news.  What is clear, however, is that the community can be assured that Stornoway Trust will continue working with other stakeholders in the search for a solution to allow island wind to best deliver its untapped potential.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:“I’m proud to see Scotland firmly at the heart of the UK’s green revolution. With half of the 12 successful projects in the latest round of the UK Government’s flagship renewables support scheme being Scottish, we are leading the way in developing renewable energies and harnessing the economic growth benefits and creation of highly skilled jobs this brings.

“This is the latest in a long line of examples of how the UK Government is building a more prosperous Scotland within a strong United Kingdom. A little more than a week ago we announced Rosyth would play a key role in building the Royal Navy’s new Type 31 frigates in a huge boost to the world-renowned Scottish shipbuilding sector.

“And just days before that came the fabulous news that, following extensive UK Government support, Glasgow had been chosen to host the crucial COP26 climate change conference."

This report has been updated more than once since first publication to include additional material