Above, Caroline Maclennan, director of the Hebridean Celtic Festival addresses the launch event
Lewis Wind Power opened a new office in Stornoway today (January 31st) so that people can drop in and talk to employees about its two proposed wind farms.
The opening follows the appointment of champion mountain biker Kerry MacPhee to look after community liaison for the projects.
She will join stakeholder relations manager David Morrison at the office on Cromwell Street Quay. It is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Lewis Wind Power is a joint venture between Edinburgh-based EDF Energy Renewables and Wood Group from Aberdeen. It is developing the Uisenis and Stornoway wind projects which are the two largest developments in the Western Isles.
A series of speakers welcomed the opening of the new office and the growing certainty of a timetable towards the projects getting a chance to go ahead. The size of the proposed projects is critical in making the financial case for a much needed interconnector cable from the Western Isles to the Scottish mainland.
Substantial development of wind farms on the island can only happen if the electricity can be easily exported to the National Grid. The development will unlock significant community benefits in payments, ownership and jobs.
Kerry, pictured above, who is from South Uist, will be available to talk to community groups and listen to any concerns they might have. She said: “The new office is our base on Lewis but I expect to be out and about talking to local people explaining our plans as we move forward with the projects.
“The Lewis Wind Projects offer the best possible chance of delivering large scale wind power on the Western Isles, and the many jobs and huge local economic impact that would follow.”
Lewis Wind Power believes that 2018 will be a critical year for the two projects. It is hoped that the island wind projects will be given the green light to compete in auctions for low carbon electricity in early 2019.
Mark Vyvyan-Robinson, Lewis Wind Power director said before the launch: “We want to make it easy for people to find out what is going on with the projects and I am delighted that Kerry has taken the community liaison role. She understands and cares about the Western Isles and it’s great that she has been able to come back to work with us.
“Lewis Wind Power has a big responsibility in 2018 to make sure that these projects can win contracts against other renewables projects across the UK. We will also firm up plans for community ownership with the Council and Stornoway Trust.
“Investment in the interconnector can only be triggered by our projects, which have planning consent and a grid connection. The interconnector would mean there would be scope for more community projects on the Western Isles.
“It would also unlock the potential for up to 600 jobs at the peak of construction and up to £400 million of economic benefit over the lifetime of the planned and future developments.”
The development was welcomed by CnES Leader Councillor Roddie Mackay and by Iain Maciver of the Stornoway Trust, pictured below.
(A more detailed report of what was said at the launch will be published later)