The Stornoway Trust has responded to critics of its windfarm plans with Lewis Windpower (LWP) by saying that its schemes are key to building the Interconnector to the mainland, without which it is likely that no further sustainable power-generation schemes can proceed.

In a statement this week the community landowner said that: “With the 2019 Contract of Difference auction date fast approaching, Scottish & Southern Energy Network’s (SSEN) long awaited submission of the subsea 600MW cable Needs Case to the Energy Regulator (Ofgem) has been warmly welcomed by the Stornoway Trust. 

“Not only because it offers renewed hope that investment in the link will be approved, but that its stated case, backed up by well-informed independent advice, clearly recognises the importance of LWP and Forsa Energy’s already consented schemes in helping to underpin the strength of their submission.

“Together with the also consented Eishken scheme, the Stornoway Trust projects should provide Ofgem with the comfort of knowing that the Developers involved have the capability of generating the required 400MW of wind energy in time to meet the now projected 2023 cable energisation target.”

Trust Chairman, Norman A Maciver in welcoming the news, stated that he hoped: “SSEN’s announcement will now help dispel many of the misguided criticisms levelled at both the Trust and the Comhairle for the resolute support of a process wholly focused on achieving the best possible outcome for our Island.’

The full statement goes on to say: “Buoyed by the prospect of a consented cable to look forward to, the Trust hopes that the Developers can now aim at achieving two major milestones in the interim: success at the May 2019 CFD Auction; and Section 19A approval via the Scottish Land Court required for the developments to progress alongside traditional crofting practices on the affected Common Grazings.”

Trust Factor, Iain Maciver, in calling for people to unite behind the projects, believes that there is still an opportunity for the community to positively engage with the Developers to the mutual benefit of all concerned. 

“I hope my faith in our ability to work together for the common good is not misplaced.  Through positive collaboration, we can make our world-class resources work for us by ensuring our schemes can compete with the best. 

“While we stand to gain a lot, the prospect of losing what could be our only chance to capitalise on our renewable energy generation potential at this stage would have, in my view, disastrous repercussions for our Island’s fragile-looking economic prospects”.

The full statement concludes that “With the Trust and the Comhairle actively working together to seek how best to secure a community ownership stake in potentially up to 100MW of generation, the prospect of additional profit from equity further adds to the attractiveness of what can be gained from what these schemes alone can unlock.”